Los Angeles Lakers request interview with Milwaukee Bucks’ Charles Lee

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07: (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07: (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The NBA coaching carousel is in full rotation despite the limited number of openings at the moment and two Milwaukee Bucks assistants are in the thick of it.

Darvin Ham has already interviewed or been requested to interview for all three vacancies (the Sacramento Kings job has already been filled) and now it appears as though Charles Lee will get interviewed by all three teams. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Lakers have requested an interview with Lee.

Reactions to the Los Angeles Lakers requesting an interview with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Charles Lee

Lee had interviewed for the now-filled Kings job and is still in contention for the Charlotte Hornets position, along with Ham. The Lakers were the lone team that Lee had yet to meet with and it appears as though that is going to change.

Lee, 37, is one of the youngest candidates in this head coaching cycle and has gotten plenty of attention from teams before. He was reportedly a finalist for the Washington Wizards’ head coaching vacancy (along with Ham, once again) before they went with Wes Unseld Jr.

He has been with Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer since 2014 with the Atlanta Hawks after playing overseas for four years. He started his coaching career in college at his alma mater of Bucknell before joining Budenholzer.

Although Ham gets most of the attention as a coaching candidate, Lee has been interviewed for almost all the same jobs. Teams see Lee’s potential and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his chance.

I don’t like just tossing the “player’s coach” label on a Black candidate, but from the things we’ve seen from Lee, the players do all seem to love him and get along with him very well. He did get the chance to be the head coach of the Hawks’ Summer League team in 2017 which featured DeAndre’ Bembry, John Collins, and Taurean Prince that posted a modest 3-2 record.

In ranking the three positions, I had the Lakers second, slightly ahead of the Kings and behind the Hornets by a significant margin.

If I were a young, up-and-coming coaching candidate, this would not be the job I’d want. Sure, it’s the Lakers and there’s name value there, but it also comes with a ton of dysfunction. The Buss family has some weird public rivalry with Klutch Sports and LeBron James over who really has control over personnel, you’ll get undermined to the media by James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook (if he’s still around), and if you don’t win immediately, the fans will call for your head.

The only upside is that you have a chance to win right away because of James and Davis, but with how things are being handled, how the roster is constructed, and James’ looming threat of leaving at a moment’s notice, is it worth the risk?

Still, the allure of having that head coaching job and being in Los Angeles is strong for any up-and-coming coach. I’m a big believer in fit and opportunity, so I hope Lee (as well as Ham) factor that in when making the choice.

This is all assuming either get offered one of the two (or both) of the head coaching vacancies. We’ve seen both assistants get close in the hiring process before and come up short.

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Good luck to both Charles Lee and Darvin Ham in their interview process. As much as we love them as assistants with the Milwaukee Bucks, it would be nice to see them succeed as head coaches too!