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Report: Pistons to Interview Bucks Coach Charles Lee

The Budenholzer Branch of the Popovich Coaching Tree grows evermore...

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again. As has become almost customary in the past half-decade, the Milwaukee Bucks have assistant coaches on head coach Mike Budenholzer’s staff that are drawing attention from other NBA teams. This year, associate head coach Charles Lee has been granted permission to interview for the vacancy open with the Detroit Pistons.

Lee, 37, has been on NBA sidelines for nearly a decade, with all of his nine years of experience coming alongside Coach Bud (first in Atlanta, then in Milwaukee). This is not the first time Lee has gotten attention for lead roles across the league; this March 2022 article from The Athletic goes into detail about his experience and serves as a de facto resume for the Bucknell University graduate. And while he’s not the only one in the running for the Pistons job, Lee has been here before. Interviewed previously for the head coach job in New Orleans, Washington, Utah (where the Bucks had to prioritize promoting Lee to keep him), and most recently Los Angeles (where former Milwaukee colleague Darvin Ham now coaches), the seat just opened by Dwane Casey’s move into the front office might be an opportunity for Lee...and yet another Coach Bud assistant departing the Bucks.

First, it was Taylor Jenkins, who helms the Memphis Grizzlies. Then it was the aforementioned Darvin Ham, who now runs the Los Angeles Lakers. Could Charles Lee be another Budenholzer disciple that takes on the challenge of reviving the Detroit Pistons? You’d be hard pressed to find another coach as well-regarded in NBA circles, primarily because of his ability to converse with and relate to people of all backgrounds, levels of experience, and temperaments. If you want to get to know him a bit better, the Bucks published an interview with Zora Stephenson last week.

As is always the case, talent is in high demand across the league. Mike Budenholzer, Jon Horst, and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks organization has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of developing their own talent, and not just on the court. Lee’s potential elevation to head coach in another city is yet another testament to the organizational turnaround that Bucks fans have enjoyed for the last 5 years, as well as an opportunity to develop even more talent. Selfishly, some might hope that Lee loses out on his pursuit of the Pistons gig, but we wish him success wherever he goes. Just not against the Bucks.