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Sacramento Kings hire Luke Walton as new head coach

It’s official

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official.

The Sacramento Kings have hired Luke Walton as their new head coach, according to The Atheltic’s Sam Amick.

Amick says Walton’s deal runs through the 2022-23 season, matching the length of the extension Vlade Divac signed this past week.

From the moment the Kings fired Dave Joerger we began hearing rumors of the Kings wanting Luke Walton. He was Vlade Divac’s top choice, and the Kings didn’t bother interviewing any other candidates as far as we know.

This is a bold change for the Kings and a big risk for Vlade Divac. By making such a decisive change, Divac is staking his reputation on this move taking the Kings to the playoffs next season. Anything less will be a failure.

Walton was a hot coaching candidate just three years ago. Walton coached the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record during an absence by head coach Steve Kerr. Walton was scooped up by the Los Angeles Lakers the following summer, taking over a Lakers team that had won just 17 games. He led them to win totals of 26 and 35 wins the following years. This past year the Lakers won just 37 games despite adding LeBron James to the roster. It’s difficult to determine how much blame should be placed on Walton vs the front office for poor roster construction.

Walton’s teams have generally played at a fast pace, which suits the Kings current roster construction. It remains to be seen how Walton will fill out his coaching staff, as his lack of support was often viewed as a weakness in Los Angeles.

We’ll have to wait and see how Walton does in Sacramento, but at least we know who the Kings coach is and the team can focus efforts on this summer’s free agents.

Welcome to Sacramento, Luke!