It appears the Toronto Raptors will need to move on to Plan B.
The Houston Rockets have hired Ime Udoka as their new head coach, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This is relevant to the Raptors because just three days ago, Udoka was reportedly expected to be a “serious candidate” to replace Nick Nurse.
ESPN Sources: Ime Udoka has agreed to a deal to become the next Houston Rockets coach. pic.twitter.com/xhcDRDfnNJ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 24, 2023
The Houston hiring is also bad news for Nurse, as the former Raptors coach was reportedly a “prominent candidate” to become the Rockets’ next head coach.
Udoka led the Boston Celtics to an NBA Finals appearance in his only season as head coach in 2021-22. In September, the Celtics suspended him for the entire 2022-23 season for violating multiple team policies, which reportedly included an intimate relationship with a female member of the organization.
Nurse was fired by the Raptors on Friday, following a nearly 10-year run with the team, including five years as head coach. He had one year left on his contract, which pays him more than $8 million.
“The decision to make a change like this is never arrived at easily or taken lightly, especially when it comes to a person who has been an integral part of this franchise’s most historic accomplishments, and who has been a steady leader through some of our team’s most challenging times,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in Friday’s media release.
“As we reflect on Nick’s many successes, we thank him and his family, and wish them the best in future.”
“This is an opportunity for us to reset, to refocus, to put into place the personnel and the players who will help us reach our goal of winning our next championship.”