Kings sack head coach Luke Walton after slow start to season

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Kings sack head coach Luke Walton after slow start to season


Luke Walton’s time with the Kings is over.

On Sunday, the Kings announced that they had fired Walton as the team’s head coach after a 6-11 start to the season.

“After a thorough evaluation of the season so far, I have decided to change the head coach position,” Kings general manager Monte McNair said. “I want to thank Luke for his efforts and contribution to our team. “

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first announce the news.

Walton took over as Sacramento’s head coach in 2019-20. The team posted a 68-93 record under him.

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Why did the Kings fire Luke Walton?

After the Kings finished 31-41 in consecutive seasons, Sacramento general manager Monte McNair made it clear that he expects the team to earn a playoff berth in 2021-22, putting a lot of pressure on Walton early in the campaign. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.

“One thing that has really helped us is that we have a very, very clear goal,” McNair told Sam Amick of The Athletic in early November. “We want to bring this organization back to the playoffs. We want to go back (and) it helps (that) we have a singular goal. “

McNair backed Walton to start the season, saying he had done a “great job” with players and coaching staff, but confidence in Walton began to wane as the Kings gave up games against lesser opponents. that stellar and landed near the bottom of the Western Conference rankings. During a November streak, Sacramento lost six of seven games, including an embarrassing performance against Toronto at home with a group of Golden 1 Center fans chanting “Fire Luke Walton”.

Walton was unable to consistently produce wins throughout his tenure, and the front office eventually lost patience. Now the Kings will hand someone else a roster of talented players like De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes.

Who will replace Luke Walton as Kings coach?

The Kings announcement that Alvin Gentry has been named interim Sacramento head coach.

Gentry was an associate head coach for the Kings under Walton. Prior to joining the Kings, he was head coach of the Pelicans for five seasons.

Gentry is already under contract until 2022-2023, Wojnarowski parish.

Luke Walton Contract

Former Kings general manager Vlade Divac named Walton the team’s head coach in April 2019, would have signed him for a four-year contract.

“I have known Luke for many years and am very happy to welcome him and his family to the Sacramento Kings,” Divac said at the time. “I look forward to his leadership on the ground as we work to build a winning culture for many years to come. “

Walton’s contract would be guaranteed throughout the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 seasons for a combined total of $ 11.5 million.

Luke Walton’s Coaching Record

Season Team Save Winner%
2016-17 Lakers 26-56 .317
2017-18 Lakers 35-47 .427
2018-19 Lakers 37-45 .451
2019-20 rois 31-41 .431
2020-21 rois 31-41 .431
2021-22 rois 6-11 .353
Career Lakers/Kings 166-241 .408

(Note: Walton led the Warriors to a 39-4 start in the 2015-16 season as Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery, but those wins went to Kerr.)

The opinions on this page do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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