The Boston Celtics announced Thursday that Udoka has been suspended for the entire 2022-23 season for “violations of team protocols.” Keep in mind that he just led the franchise to the 2022 NBA Finals in his first season as head coach.

Udoka was involved in an improper intimate relationship with a female staffer, according to reports. After announcing the season-long suspension, the Celtics said that a decision about his future with the organization will be made “at a later date.”

In the meantime, it looks like assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will step in for the 2022-23 campaign. Looking ahead, however, there is certainly a possibility that the Celtics may decide to permanently part ways with Udoka. The most recent report says that while the relationship was initially believed to be consensual, Udoka was recently accused of making “unwanted comments” toward the anonymous woman involved.

Given this context, here are five coaches who can possibly replace Ime Udoka if the Celtics suspension leads to his firing.

5. Damon Stoudamire

Damon Stoudamire was one of Udoka's go-to assistant coaches during the Celtics' 2022 NBA Finals run. Of course, he is well-regarded across the league not just for his coaching but also for his outstanding playing career. He would connect with the players in much the same way Udoka did last season.

Recall that Stoudamire won the NBA's 1996 Rookie of the Year Award in addition to handling the offense for the stacked Trail Blazers teams of the late 1990s. He was also Udoka's teammate in San Antonio back in the 2008-09 season and served as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, too.

4. Joe Mazzulla

Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla should be an automatic consideration for the Celtics' head coaching spot next season. He has been with the organization for a long time and has established meaningful relationships with the players. By mid-2023, he would have also had one full season of head coaching experience under his belt.

Mazzulla was moved to a senior assistant position on Ime Udoka's bench earlier this summer when lead assistant Will Hardy was named head coach of the Utah Jazz. Notably, Mazzulla was also a contender for that Utah job. If Mazzulla does a swell job this season, the job should be his. Even if the Celtics struggle, though, Mazzulla cannot be faulted too much given the current circumstances.

It is worth pointing out that Mazzulla's record isn't clean either, though it seems Boston has put that in the past.

3. Brad Stevens

He makes sense, right? The Celtics already have a relatively young Coach of the Year in their organization. It's just that he's the President of Basketball Operations.

Keep in mind that Brad Stevens is a fantastic coach who simply ran out of steam in 2021 and didn't want to do the job anymore. We cannot blame him too much either. I mean, he had to deal with Kyrie Irving's antics for two years, the Kemba Walker debacle and letting Al Horford depart. Those were crazy times in Boston.

After a year off to recharge, it would seem natural for Stevens to hop back in the saddle and adapt Udoka's system. Meanwhile, he can also delegate GM duties to New England native Mike Zarren, who is more than qualified.

2. Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy must be mentioned in any and every coaching search, especially this one for the Celtics. The current TV analyst is often mentioned when a head coaching position becomes available. However, he has yet to find a deal that suits him. He has taken a firm stance in recent years not to comment on any available positions. As such, it appears like Van Gundy would need to be in a really ideal scenario to quit broadcasting.

In a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, JVG stated that while he has become acclimated to broadcasting, it still does not compare to coaching. The Memphis Grizzlies were reportedly interested in providing Van Gundy a role similar to that of his brother, Stan, with the Detroit Pistons. He would have been a head coach and team president at the same time, but nothing came of it. He may have to enter an adjustment period, though, since he has not been the head coach of a team since the 2006-07 season when he led the Houston Rockets to the playoffs.

1. Mark Jackson

Taking on Mark Jackson as head coach clearly comes with some interesting elements. Jackson's past spats with Warriors ownership were well-documented. However, let's not forget that he did help convert the team into a Western Conference playoff contender. Since leaving the Warriors, Jackson has received accolades from Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and even the man who replaced him, Steve Kerr. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green also spoke out after Jackson's departure from Golden State and expressed their admiration for him.

Jackson met with the Sacramento Kings when they were looking to hire a new coach. No position was given, and the encounter was minimized by all parties involved. But perhaps this would be a different story in Boston. If he can prove he has learned from his past mistakes, he would be a great man for the job.