Photo: Charles Krupa/AP

Despite all of the scandals that took place, Gregg Popovich still has nothing but love for his mentee in Ime Udoka.

In his pregame availability for the Boston Celtics-San Antonio Spurs clash, Popovich can only clarify that his bond and friendship with Udoka remain intact amid what happened prior to this season.

“He’s a very good friend,” Popovich on Udoka, via Gary Washburn of Boston Globe. “He always will be. So you feel for people that get caught up into a situation. But I’m not a judge and jury and our friendship will continue.”

Udoka is a coaching disciple of Popovich, wherein the two have shared significant time and partnership from the previous years. Udoka played for the Spurs within three seasons and ultimately became a member of the legendary mentor’s coaching staff for seven years – wherein they helped each other to clinch an NBA championship back in the 2013-14 campaign.

Following a remarkable turnaround and his leadership on the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals last season, Udoka was slapped with a season-long suspension by the franchise due to violating team rules. He had an improper, intimate relationship with female team staff, wherein he was also accused of using crude language.

Amid his absence, Boston didn’t miss its footing as one of the league’s current powerhouses, as they are now being led by interim coach Joe Mazzulla.