Milwaukee Bucks are promoting Charles Lee to associate head coach

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

After Darvin Ham agreed to be the next coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Milwaukee Bucks would have to find a replacement for Mike Budenholzer’s top assistant.

The obvious name that came to mind was Charles Lee, another long-time Budenholzer assistant, and it appears that will indeed be the case. As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bucks are promoting Lee to be the next associate head coach under Budenholzer, noting that the front office “prioritized” getting a new deal done with the 37-year-old following Ham’s departure from the franchise. Lee was more than deserving of the opportunity, and it will be interesting to see how things shake out heading into the offseason.

Reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks promoting Charles Lee to be the associate head coach under Mike Budenholzer

As highlighted previously, Charles Lee was the clear-cut candidate for this role, given the work he has done as a member of Mike Budenholzer’s staff. Just like Ham, Lee has been among the best in the business in terms of assistant coaches for the past several years, and teams have taken notice this offseason as he has conducted several interviews for head coaching openings.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lee had interviewed with the Charlotte Hornets for their head coaching opening in recent weeks, but Charania reported today that they are likely to hire former Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson, crossing his name off the list. Lee was also previously in the running for the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching opening, but that was given to Ham, of course. Sticking with Charania, the NBA insider reported that despite this latest news, Lee remains a candidate for the Utah Jazz’s current head coaching vacancy, so it will certainly be interesting to see how things pan out there following Quin Snyder’s recent departure from the franchise.

Rumors have been swirling for several offseasons now that Lee could be a quality head coach as he has conducted several interviews in recent memory, and if he ultimately lands a coaching gig, great. If not, the Bucks will certainly welcome having him on the sidelines alongside Budenholzer on a nightly basis. As for why Lee has consistently received interviews for head coaching openings but not landed a job quite yet, there are several factors, but ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz (subscription required) made an interesting point when he stated that a number of executives and coaches have said that if Lee had logged a single minute of NBA action in his life, he would have a job as a head coach in this league. As seen with the hiring of Ham, teams do tend to value that experience as a former player, and it can be helpful throughout the process. Still, despite not having played in the association, Lee is still a terrific coach that deserves a chance.

As of right now, all eyes are on the Utah Jazz and what they decide to do with their head coaching opening, and whether or not Lee will be involved in their next steps. For now, congrats, Charles!

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Stay tuned for future updates on coach Charles Lee and his future in Milwaukee.