Boston Celtics

Mazzulla reacts to Charles Lee getting Hornets job, offers advice

"Everybody hates you. Get used to it."

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BOSTON -- Joe Mazzulla will bid farewell to his top assistant when the Boston Celtics' playoff run comes to an end.

Charles Lee, who joined Mazzulla's staff last summer, was hired as the Charlotte Hornets' new head coach on Thursday. He will remain with the Celtics for the rest of the postseason before joining the Hornets full-time.

Mazzulla reacted to the news before Game 2 of Boston's Eastern Conference semifinals series vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Happy for him," Mazzulla said. "Great coach. Long overdue, and he's going to do a great job."

Lee joined the C's after five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he won the 2021 NBA championship as part of Mike Budenholzer's coaching staff. Boston finished with a 64-18 record -- the fourth-best in franchise history -- in Lee's lone season working under Mazzulla.

Mazzulla served as an assistant for three seasons before his unexpected promotion to Celtics head coach in 2022. With Lee earning his first head coaching job, Mazzulla offered some blunt advice based on his own experience.

"Everybody hates you. Get used to it," he said. "You're no longer the nice, shiny toy."

Both Mazzulla and Lee remain focused on bringing Banner 18 to TD Garden. When the time comes to find a new lead assistant, Mazzulla plans to hire from within.

"When you have the structure that we have as far as talented young guys, you just be as patient as you can knowing that there's a process in order of how you try to go about doing it," he said. "Especially when you want to keep as many people around as you can. So, just got to go through that process."

Mazzulla cited Lee's experience and accolades as reasons he believes he'll succeed in Charlotte. He also mentioned an important quality that you won't find on Basketball Reference.

"I think one of the best things besides his basketball has been his ability to communicate," Mazzulla said. "He’s a really positive guy.”

Lee will be on the Celtics bench as Boston looks to take a 2-0 series lead over Cleveland on Thursday night.

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