Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday morning that the Milwaukee Bucks’ lead assistant coach Charles Lee would be leaving Milwaukee to take the same position under Joe Mazzulla on the Boston Celtics’ bench.
Charles Lee has been out in the open for many positions this off-season after the Milwaukee Bucks dismissed Head Coach Mike Budenholzer following the team’s opening-round loss to the eight-seed Miami Heat.
Why Charles Lee leaving the Milwaukee Bucks for the Boston Celtics is not a surprise
It isn’t a large surprise that Charles Lee left Milwaukee, given the fact that the Milwaukee Bucks have announced the additions of several coaches to new Head Coach Adrian Griffin’s staff, including new lead assistant Terry Stotts. Stotts is likely going to be the crafter of the Milwaukee Bucks’ offensive game plan.
The additions of Stotts, another former Bucks assistant Joe Prunty, Patrick Mutombo, Nate Mitchell, and DJ Bakker, and keeping assistants Josh Oppenheimer and Vin Baker, leaves Charles Lee looking for a new position.
Josh Oppenheimer has worked very closely with Giannis Antetokounmpo in his time in Milwaukee and with him in the off-seasons in Greece to aid Antetokounmpo’s development, making Oppenheimer a no-brainer to retain.
Vin Baker, a former Milwaukee Buck, is likely a key factor in the play of Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez, given his time in the league as a center, furthering the development of Portis’ game and the incredible bounce-back season of Brook Lopez after his back surgery the previous season.
Nate Mitchell has made a name for himself as a player development coach, something new head coach Adrian Griffin himself has been given credit for, most notably by Jimmy Butler when the two were in Chicago with the Bulls. Mitchell follows Griffin from the Toronto Raptors staff.
DJ Bakker comes to the Milwaukee Bucks staff from the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons’ G-League affiliate, where he served as head coach for the past two seasons.
Charles Lee has been a candidate for several head coaching positions in the past few years, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, and Houston Rockets but was passed over for them.
The fact that Lee did not receive a head coaching position for any team openings this off-season and the Milwaukee Bucks doing a complete overhaul on their coaching staff are the two largest reasons for Charles Lee finding a new home with the Boston Celtics. Lee will take over a similar role with Boston that he had in Milwaukee after the Los Angeles Lakers hired the Bucks’ previous lead assistant, Darvin Ham.
Lee now finds himself as the lead assistant under Joe Mazzulla, who seemed green around the gills in the Boston Celtics’ Eastern Conference Finals series with the Miami Heat. The Celtics now add Lee, who is an experienced assistant and can help Mazzulla in his second year leading the Boston Celtics.
Charles Lee now joins former Milwaukee Buck Sam Cassell on Joe Mazzulla’s staff, with Cassell coming over from the Philadelphia 76ers, who also let go of their Head Coach, Doc Rivers, this off-season.
Where do the Milwaukee Bucks go from here?
The Milwaukee Bucks introduced Adrian Griffin as their new head coach on Tuesday morning, several players were present, and Griffin confirmed Terry Stotts would be joining his staff. Terry Stotts would be the most likely candidate to take over the position occupied by Charles Lee last season, essentially leaving Lee without a job.
The Milwaukee Bucks will proceed with their new coaching staff that retains two coaches from last year’s team, Josh Oppenheimer and Vin Baker. The Bucks are likely to feature several different looks compared to the Mike Budenholzer tenure while retaining principles like building good defenses under Griffin.
However, the new staff seems ready to put a higher focus on making adjustments based on having alternative game plans, player development, and focusing on the team as people, not just as basketball players.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.