The Sacramento Kings are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race as they try to end their league-high 14-year postseason drought.
After winning seven of eight games, the Kings have lost four in a row, including a demoralizing defeat to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. Sacramento is two games behind the Golden State Warriors for the 10th seed with 21 games left on the schedule.
Head coach Luke Walton — who is in his second season with the team — could be let go if the Kings falter down the stretch. If he is, he may not have to wait long to find his next coaching gig.
The Arizona Wildcats fired men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller after 12 seasons with the program. The obvious connection is that Walton spent his four-year collegiate career with the Wildcats and helped the team make the NCAA Tournament each season.
Walton was asked if he would be interested in exploring the opportunity to take over the program during his recent media availability.
“No, no interest. I love Arizona,” Miller said. “Sean Miller did an amazing job there in his time, but I have a job that I love, I got a group I love working with. Very committed to being here in Sacramento and in keeping this going in the direction that we want it to go and getting this team back into the playoffs.”
Walton’s record with Sacramento is 53-70 since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, but he has faced criticism for the team’s defensive performance.
The Kings are giving up 118.6 points per game, second-most in the NBA and 6.5 points more than they were surrendering last season. But Sacramento has been better on the offensive end, averaging 4.5 points more than it was during the 2019-20 campaign.
General manager Monte McNair could certainly look to bring in his own coach, especially after inheriting Walton from the previous regime. But if Walton can somehow get his troops into the playoffs, McNair will have to think long and hard before making a coaching change.
What do you think of Walton’s tenure with the team? Do you think the Kings should let him go after the season?