Kings Hire Luke Walton As Head Coach

APRIL 15: The Kings have officially hired Walton as their new head coach, the team announced today in a press release.

“I have known Luke for many years and I am so excited to welcome him and his family to the Sacramento Kings,” Divac said in a statement. “I look forward to his leadership on the court as we work to build a winning culture for many years to come.”

APRIL 13: The Kings will hire Luke Walton as their next head coach, tweets Sean Cunningham of ABC10 in Sacramento. Walton and the Kings have agreed on a contract that will run through the 2022/23 season, tweets Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Sources tell Cunningham that the search moved quickly because of GM Vlade Divac’s fondness for Walton, whom he wanted to hire in 2016. Other candidates for the job were told they would only get an opportunity if negotiations with Walton fall through, per Amick (Twitter link).

Sacramento’s front office asked Walton to interview with them yesterday and was reportedly also seeking permission to talk with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina. Walton compiled a 98-148 mark in three seasons with the Lakers before mutually agreeing to part ways with the organization.

The Kings are about to hire their seventh head coach of the decade after their surprising decision to fire Dave Joerger on Thursday. Joerger won 98 games in three seasons and had Sacramento in the playoff race for most of the year. The team’s 39-43 record under Joerger in 2018/19 was its best mark since the 2005/06 season.

Walton has spent the last three seasons as the Lakers’ head coach, compiling a 98-148 (.398) overall mark with the franchise. Walton technically improved his record every year as the Lakers’ coach, winning 26, 35, and 37 games in his three seasons. However, this season’s squad, hit hard by injuries and negatively impacted by the midseason Anthony Davis trade-rumor saga, fell well short of expectations following last summer’s acquisition of LeBron James.

The Lakers’ underachievement resulted in Walton’s ouster this week, even with Magic Johnson no longer running the show in Los Angeles. However, it didn’t take the former Warriors assistant long to find a new head coaching job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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45 thoughts on “Kings Hire Luke Walton As Head Coach

  1. cobbalicious

    Good start for the King’s this offseason. Walton is a good head coach to develop their young players.

        • imindless

          Wasnt a good coach before bron i guess 2 seasons of missing the playoffs before and not progressing talent is good?

          • schnoah

            The Lakers tanked his first year to get Ball. 2nd year was a team full of 1st and 2nd year players. Increased win total. Lebron got there year 3 and injuries out the wazoo and team win total still increased.

            Don’t forget he didn’t run a fast system like he ran in GS. When lebron got there the style changed. He will be coaching that fast system in Sacramento

            • imindless

              Rotations were terrible with personnel he had…defensive formations were universally bad all 3 seasons. Also saying lakers purposely tanked for ball goes against everything that they claimed during those seasons. He just not that good of a coach man.

              • driftcat28

                Tbf I don’t think teams are allowed to admit they tank. But it’s pretty obvious it goes on

          • azcrook

            Walton realized that he could not coach his way with numerous distractions around…….so, he should be more well suited for the more relaxed and sane environment in Sacramento……..just LeBron, no Magic, and… more outside noise from Lavar……it has to be a win, win situation for him.

  2. Michael Chaney

    When Doc Rivers retires he should coach the Clippers and complete his tour of being a coach for all the teams in California

    • yoyo137

      He hasn’t even been the coach for all the teams in the Staples Center lol

  3. Awesome!
    Best of Luck to you Luke!!!!
    At least you will have a TRUE Pointe Guard.

  4. Guest617

    110% walton’s stoked to get outta lebrona’s poisonous drama to join a nontoxic environment

  5. x%sure

    Walton will be a better fit for this fast-paced team. They should look at Rondo too, if they do not retain Yogi Ferrell or Mason. Farrell had a decent year though. Rondo will probably be cheap after this last season, but he needed a faster pace too.

    • metsdolphinskings

      The Rondo thing came and went in Sacramento. Dude stinks in a full court offense .

  6. OCTraveler

    I have just become a Kings’ fan. With their roster and draft picks, they could be very entertaining next year.

    • Michael Chaney

      I agree that they could be very entertaining next year, but they don’t have a first rounder

      • schnoah

        We don’t have a first rounder, but we do have 3 seconds, could package to move up late 1. We have 2 firsts and 9 second round picks next 3 drafts. We also have a good amount of cap space. Barnes likely will get an extension this off-season and lower his cap number. Kings are in a great situation with talent and money and future assets

        • D$!LLKU$H-og

          Yeah if I’m Barnes first day of off-season I tell Vlade to pay me less next year…. He’s not opting out. He’ll make over 25MM. He also didn’t have the greatest season and I’m sure he wants to put up big numbers before hitting the open market next year. Also there are less quality players in next year’s FA with the exception of AD and can leverage that into a bigger deal.

          • schnoah

            All Barnes would have to do is get 4yr 80M. It lowers his cap hit by 5M and gives him 55M guaranteed over 3 more years. Win win.

            • x%sure

              That just increases the years they’re stuck with him. Barnes looks good but is a drag.

  7. kenleyfornia2

    All these “Lebron cancer” comments yet would go nuts if he went to their team. Yeal real cancer dropping 27 a game

    • KC2112

      It’s not about what he can do in the court. It’s about the dysfunction he brings with him. Hates playing with young guys wants to have the ball always, no locker room chemistry with. Loves to have his posse leak comments about stuff. Every place he leaves is a train wreck for several years after, because all their young talent and draft picks are gone.

      • kenleyfornia2

        Drivel. He won 2 chips in Miami. Only sacraficed Wiggins in Cleveland and they won a title. The idea he hates young players is a bunch of garbage. They had none in Cleveland or Miami. Only Wiggins…

        • Natergater77

          What they are saying are those teams traded draft capital to get vets to play with LeBron because he can not play with youth.

          Not the end of the world to admit that hole in LeBrons game. He’s nkt perfect. And be fair Wade had won a ring in Miami before the super team. Bron gets credit for Cleveland, but it’s not like he built a dynasty there. He did not leave them better than he found them. Honestly when Kyrie asked out LeBron should have requested a trade to LA, but the Clippers. He could have joined Paul and Jordan. The Cavs could have got Griffin and a 1st. Along with the Kyrie trade and Love Cleveland would be better off, Bron would have been in LA on a contender

          • kenleyfornia2

            “He didnt leave Cleveland better than he found them”…. Uhhh they have a banner in the rafters. That wasnt there before. The Cavs had to be one of the most desperate teams/city for a ring and they got it. Dont pretend they would have been better off if Lebron never came back

          • x%sure

            N77- 4 straight EC titles, one NBA, so suck it. You can keep Blake, that trade was not a thing. But If Gilbert trades that Sexton pick for Kemba or Lou Will, maybe a second title. That was a thing.

            It’s not a player’s job to build a dynasty. That’s for the FO. The outlandish expectations put on James is a reflection of his importance. So is the fact that a title team goes to 19-56 when he leaves.

            • Natergater77

              Ok if LeBron betters teams, why is Miami struggling to find itself, Cleveland is and now LAL was a team looking in the rise and now looks in shambles.

              LeBron is a great individual player, maybe greatest ever. But he sucks as a team player

      • Z-A

        He wanted to trade scrubs for superstars. Not much to disrupt. Only good player they’d have traded was Kuzma, rest of the roster is Meh.

  8. dirtbagfreitas

    Vivek is so desperate to have the Kings be Golden State east. Also think about how lucky Vlade has gotten to not look like a complete idiot. He trades Chriss for the rights to draft Papagiannis who might be the worst first rounder in the last ten years BUT he obtains the rights for Bogdan in that deal. Then he trades Cousins who tears his achilles and the Pelicans lose him. Unreal.

  9. Mmmhhh… I worry now ’bout the future of the Kings, not really a good appointment. If he couldn’t perform coaching one of the greatest players ever, how will he manage young players? Better candidates out there, but at least Luke will ensure Sacramento doesn’t break the playoff drought, LOL!!!

  10. Yes, I’m glad he’s leaving the Lakers and King James the Intimidator, known as the coaches primadonna. Next to jump ship, Jack Nickolson, that’s a Joke. There’s only one king to play alongside and that’s The Sacramento Kings.

  11. dugdog83

    If his name was Luke Jones he would be trying to sell you insurance right now.

  12. Thronson5

    Is there such thing as tampering with head coaches? I know you can’t et fines for tampering with players but is it the same for coaches who has jobs? Seems to me like Kings already talked to Walton or his people and had a handshake deal in place and then Walton went to the Lakers and told them he wanted to look into other coaching possibilities if they were unsure about him being their coach and didn’t want to give him any guarantees he’d be there so they mutually parted ways and he immediately became the head coach of the Kings. Just doesn’t seem like something like this could’ve happened so fast without their being stuff set in motion previously and I’m wondering if this legal as far as the tampering rules go?

  13. dkcsmc1991

    And Stephen A Smith is calling racism due to the fact they hired him so fast. Is Stephen A Smith losing his mind? Or, did he ever have one to lose? He should know what racism looks like and this is not it.

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