Kings head coach Luke Walton finds himself on the hot seat once again, according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, who say the pressure is mounting on Walton amidst Sacramento’s current four-game losing streak.
Sources tell Amick and Charania that Walton’s job will likely be “in peril” soon if the Kings’ slump continues.
Walton faced some pressure last season as well, but ultimately held onto his job for a variety of reasons, including his approval rating in the locker room, his strong relationship with general manager Monte McNair, and the fact that he still had multiple guaranteed years left on his contract, per Amick and Charania.
According to The Athletic’s duo, Walton isn’t expected to given as much leeway this time around, since there’s increasing urgency for the Kings to snap their 15-year playoff drought. Amick and Charania add that the current roster is viewed internally as one capable of making the postseason.
The Kings’ current losing streak includes a home game vs. Indiana and road games in San Antonio and Oklahoma City, which are the types of contests that management and ownership would expect the team to win. Sacramento will play in Detroit on Monday night, and Amick and Charania note that a loss to the 3-9 Pistons certainly “would not aid Walton’s cause.”
Walton, who was hired by former Kings general manager Vlade Divac in 2019, led the team to consecutive 31-41 (.431) finishes in his first two seasons, and is off to a 5-8 start in 2021/22. He’s under contract for one more year beyond this season.