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Are the Toronto Raptors considering the Boston Celtics’ controversial former coach Ime Udoka?

Months ago, Udoka was suspended amidst controversy about an inappropriate relationship with a staff member. It was a major blow to the team and his family.

Ime Udoka, durante un partido de la NBA con los Celtics.
Maddie MalhotraGetty Images

Despite his recent less than professional actions, which in turn led to his dismissal from the head coaching post in Boston, it seems the Toronto Raptors are weighing up whether the exiled coach could be the right man for the job.

What’s going on with the Raptors and Nick Nurse?

Though the Raptors could in fact make the playoffs this year - they are ninth in the East on 40-40 - it goes without saying, that they are a far cry from the team they were last season. Now facing two games in the Play-In tournament, there is no margin for error, as they attempt to clinch the No. 8 seed in the conference.

Of course, there are other factors playing in Toronto, some of which have undoubtedly affected the team during the campaign. From the trade rumors suggesting that Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. could depart, to injuries at the worst possible times, the Raptors have had a rough time. Then, there’s the situation surrounding head coach, Nick Nurse. Speculation about Nurse’s future has been rampant, since he gave a rather non-committal response to questions about the topic, ahead of the team’s game against the Sixers last week. “When this season gets done, we’ll evaluate everything, and even personally I’m going to take a few weeks to see where I’m at,” Nurse said at the time. “Just see how the relationship with the organization is. It’s been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run...”

Enter Ime Udoka

Here’s where things get interesting. With Nurse’s comments already casting doubt on what lies ahead for the franchise after this season, there was already going to be a lot of speculation. Yet, when reports suggested on Friday that the Raptors are not only “openly evaluating” Nurse’s role as head coach, but former Celtics coach, Ime Udoka could be a candidate, tongues most definitely started wagging.

Why is this so juicy? If you missed it, Udoka is currently serving a season-long suspension from the Celtics, following the discovery of an inappropriate relationship between himself and a fellow staff member. The franchise took the decision to name assistant Joe Mazzulla as the interim coach at the time, however, he was granted a multi-year contract in January, meaning Udoka is essentially free to shop around. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Udoka has been said to be in consideration, with both the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks having reportedly weighed him up. It’s also worth noting, that Udoka was known to be a candidate for the job in Toronto when Nurse was hired in the first place. With that in mind, it seems logical that they might have him at the top of the list. At any rate, it will be interesting to see how things shake out with this one, given Udoka’s apparent ‘black list’ status.