The Boston Celtics have gone from NBA championship favorites to a team in disarray almost overnight.

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udoka 1 us The Boston Celtics have gone from NBA championship favorites to a team in disarray almost overnight.

The Boston Celtics should be flying high in the 2022-23 season. After finishing two wins shy of last year’s championship, they were considered favorites to win the 2023 title all summer. Now, with training camp about to begin, they have become a team in disarray.

The yearlong suspension of Ime Udoka for having an inappropriately intimate, consensual relationship with a female Celtics employee — what Celtics majority owner Wyc Grousbeck called Friday a “scale of violations” — has pulled the rug out from under it. The whole system.

The past three weeks have seen a steady stream of bad news for the Celtics. Newly acquired Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL. It was announced earlier this week that Robert Williams III will undergo a second surgery on his left knee, which will reportedly sideline him for four to six weeks, meaning he will begin the season in street clothes.

Williams tore the meniscus in the same knee late last season and then battled through the pain in the playoffs, though he missed seven postseason games. Could he have done more damage playing on a knee that wasn’t fully healed? Will this latest “cleaning” process be the end or will it continue for Williams, who has had a long injury history in his short career.

Boston certainly doesn’t believe so. Williams is the legitimate Defensive Player of the Year and a huge rim-rolling weapon. He hits the offensive glass. He has prime DeAndre Jordan chops, and don’t forget how awesome Jordan was with the Clippers.

Hanging in the background, does Jaylen Brown harbor any ill will toward the Celtics for throwing his name into the trade-rumor pot this summer? Brad Stevens mentioned his candid conversation with Brown, who is certainly no stranger to trade talk. But you’d have to think Brown would believe he’s reached a position with the company where he feels more secure in his position.

It’s not a big deal. It was another of the possible paper cuts that led to Udoka’s behavior and subsequent suspension injury. On Friday, Stevens, who did not plan to attend a press conference along with Kreuzbeck, officially announced that Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will take over for Udoka on an interim basis.

Mazzulla’s appointment comes with its own level of controversy. In 2009, Mazzulla was arrested and charged after being charged with domestic battery Grabbed a woman by the neck and strangled her with a bar When he was a West Virginia student and basketball player.

Stevens addressed those allegations Friday, saying Mazzulla was “110 percent responsible” for his past actions, but Stevens said, “I believe[s] Strongly it is probably shaped [Mazzulla] He’s in a very good mood today.”

I’m not here to be the moral police. Mazzulla resolved those situations legally. People make mistakes and learn from them. But it will obviously, and rightly, be a major talking point moving forward. Optical matter. A committee that suspends a coach for misbehaving with a woman replaces him with another coach who allegedly strangled a woman.

You always hear teams and players talk about being distraction-free, and the Celtics, already mired in a PR mess, have added another to their plate. They apparently believe Mazzulla is worth the headache. Stevens spoke very glowingly of his ability to “inspire a room”.

If Mazzulla does well, questions about whether he’s actually in the lineup to replace Udoka will ring louder throughout the season. Maybe the plan is to eventually break up with Udoka anyway. Either way, none of this will go away. The Celtics are in crisis mode. This is unprecedented. They’re still a good team and they’ll compete for the title, but that’s not to say they haven’t affected it all. Can they handle it, that is the challenge.

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