Kings’ hiring of ex-Lakers coach Walton drawing praise

Former Lakers coach Luke Walton was quickly snatched up by the Kings over the weekend.

Neither Luke Walton nor general manager Vlade Divac have said anything publicly about Walton becoming the new coach of the Sacramento Kings, but others haven’t been nearly as shy.

“Happy for Luke,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters in Oakland before a playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers. “That was quick. Great opportunity, though. Really nice, young team. I thought Dave Joerger did a tremendous job there the last few years and they’ve established a really good foundation, so it’s a hell of an opportunity for him.”

The Kings are considered an up-and-coming team featuring promising talent such as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. Divac will also have about $38 million with which to spend this summer in free agency.

“Our new coach has to bring, first of all, the style that we had last year,” Divac said at a press conference last week. “This is the Kings’ style. We’ve got to play that way.”

Walton, 39, is replacing Joerger, fired last week despite a 39-43 record. Walton compiled a 98-148 record in three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was fired last week after failing to reach the playoffs despite the free-agent addition of LeBron James.

The following day, Walton agreed to what the Sacramento Bee has reported is a four-year contract.

“I want my coach to be right next to me and we can talk about the team and what’s out there for us to make our team better,” Divac said. “I want my coach on the same page.”

The Kings also fired assistant GM Brandon Williams last week. He is not expected to be replaced.