Well, there it is. Following a pair of embarrassing losses on a home back-to-back Friday and Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings fired head coach Luke Walton as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Sunday.
The Sacramento Kings fired coach Luke Walton on Sunday, sources told ESPN. Kings have lost seven of eight games and dropped to 6-11 on season – leaving them 12th in the Western Conference.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2021
Walton was hired by former general manager Vlade Divac and was sold as the coach that would get a Kings team that had gone 39-43 the year prior, over the hump. Even as recently as this past offseason, Kings’ general manager Monte McNair gave Walton a vote of confidence saying “...he’s the coach who’s going to get us back to the playoffs,” during a press conference in May.
After a 6-11 start to the season and a current stretch where the team has lost seven of eight games, that confidence in Walton seemed to be gone.
Walton is far from the main reason the Kings have been bad this season and it recent years, but it was clearly time to make the move.
During his two-plus years with the Kings, Walton went 68-93, and Sacramento is still looking for that coach to finally bring them to the promised land.
According to Wojnarowski, Walton’s assistant coach Alvin Gentry will get “strong consideration” for the Kings’ head coaching job in the interim. Before joining Walton’s staff, Gentry served as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for five seasons. During that time, the Pelicans had a winning percentage of 43.8%.
Wojnarowski also went on to mention assistant coach Doug Christie as a possible interim coach for the season. That would be a pretty unprecedented move given this is Christie’s first season as an assistant, although the Kings’ have often hired former players to prominent roles in the past.