Matt Barnes believes the Ime Udoka scandal is an even bigger bombshell than currently known.

The Celtics have suspended Udoka, who led the team to the NBA Finals in his first year as head coach, for at least the full 2022-23 season.

Initial reports indicated that Udoka had a consensual affair with a team employee. Later, Shams Charania reported in The Athletic that Udoka also made “unwanted comments” toward the woman.

Barnes, who initially had a post on social media defending Udoka, recanted his statement after he learned more apparently-sordid facts about the scenario.

“Since I’m a part of the media now and I try not to be like everyone else — I try to report and talk with facts and honesty and I clearly have to say, without knowing all the facts, I spoke in Ime Udoka’s defense,” Barnes said in a video posted on his Instagram account.

Ime Udoka is suspended for a year from coaching the Boston Celtics.
Ime Udoka is suspended for a year from coaching the Boston Celtics.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

“And, after finding out all the facts, after I spoke, I erased what I posted because this situation in Boston is deep. It’s messy. It’s 100 times uglier than any of us thought. And, that’s why I erased what I said.”

Here’s what to know about Ime Udoka’s season-long suspension:

In a journeyman career that lasted from the 2003-04 season through 2016-17, Barnes played for the Clippers, Kings, Knicks, Sixers, Warriors, Suns, Magic, Lakers, Clippers again, Grizzlies, Kings again and Warriors again. He co-hosts the “All the Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson.

Barnes had previously said it was a terrible decision for Udoka to be suspended for the year. In recanting those remarks, he continued to imply the situation with Udoka was very serious but declined to provide specifics.

“Some things happened that I can’t condone — that I can’t back. It’s not my place to tell you what happened. If it ends up coming out it ends up coming out,” he said.

“But that was the reason why I erased my post yesterday, because after I posted it I got a phone call from someone who knew all the details, and the s–t is deep. Pray for everyone involved. Hope everything gets through this.”


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Tyler Cowan