The Hornets reportedly are moving quickly to name their next head coach, and the Celtics could lose a top assistant on Joe Mazzulla’s staff.

Steve Clifford will step down as head coach and move into Charlotte’s front office at the end of the season. In the search to replace him, the Hornets on Thursday secured permission to interview Denver Nuggets assistant David Adelman, Sacramento Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez, Phoenix Suns assistant Kevin Young and Boston assistant Charles Lee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski citing sources. The ESPN NBA insider added that sources also told him that Charlotte will seek to secure permission to interview other candidates.

Lee joined the Celtics this season to become Mazzulla’s top assistant after stints on Mike Budenholzer’s staff with the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks, whom he helped win the NBA championship in the 2020-21 season.

Celtics players regard Lee very highly, and on Wednesday, they endorsed him as a potential head-coaching candidate.

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If Lee did join the Hornets, he’d join a franchise that could command a high lottery pick, get Lamelo Ball back from a season-ending ankle injury to pair with young stars like Brandon Miller, Nick Richards and Mark Williams and reunite with former Celtics forward Grant Williams.

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