The Charlotte Hornets named Celtics assistant Charles Lee their next head coach, replacing Steve Clifford, who stepped down in early April. Clifford has been an assistant in the NBA since 2014 and is coaching a surging Celtics team through the playoffs.

“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets is a dream come true,” Lee said in a statement. “The Hornets have a talented young core of players, and I’m excited about our future and what we can build here. There are few places as passionate about basketball as the Carolinas, and I look forward to coming to Charlotte and getting to work.”

Lee has spent his entire career in basketball, graduating as a player from Bucknell University and competing overseas from 2006 to 2010. After a stint as an assistant at his alma mater, he accepted an assistant position with the Atlanta Hawks and remained there until 2018. He spent another five years with the Milwaukee Bucks before landing in Boston this season.

“Charles possesses a championship pedigree with a wide range of basketball knowledge and NBA experience, has a tremendous work ethic and is a great communicator,” Hornets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Peterson said in a statement. “He shares our vision for this organization, and I look forward to partnering with him in building something special here in the Carolinas.”

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The Hornets are coming off a dreadful 21-61 season in which they finished 13th in the Eastern Conference. Lee, meanwhile, has only been on one losing team (the 2017-18 Hawks) in his 10-year coaching career in the NBA. If the odds are to be believed, he has a strong chance of receiving his second championship ring with the Celtics this season.

The Hornets, led by star LaMelo Ball, will hope that Lee’s success elsewhere will transfer to his first stint as a head coach in the 2024-25 season. Charlotte has been exciting at times in the past few seasons, but it has not come close to realizing its potential with young talents Ball and Brandon Miller on the roster.

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