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The Sacramento Kings are hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The Kings and Luke Walton have agreed to terms for him to be the next coach, a source tells @TheAthleticNBA. The length of his deal will be in line with that of Kings GM Vlade Divac, running through the 2022-23 season.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 13, 2019
Walton and the Lakers “mutually parted ways” on Friday. Meanwhile, the Kings fired Dave Joerger earlier in the week following a 39-43 season.
“Luke Walton was locked in on the Lakers job back in 2016 that the Kings weren’t under consideration back then. Things are much different here in 2019,” Sean Cunningham of KXTV reported. “(Kings general manager) Vlade Divac will land his man.”
Walton and the Lakers finished a disappointing 37-45 and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year, despite the addition of LeBron James in free agency. But James missed a career-high 17 games with a groin injury and there were rumors his camp wanted a coach change.
There were also rumors in February that the Lakers were trying to trade nearly half the team and their first-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for star big man Anthony Davis. An already iffy team chemistry became even worse after that. Injuries to Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram pretty much secured the Lakers’ fate of again missing the postseason.
Overall, the Lakers were a high-drama mess that resulted in LA legend Magic Johnson stepping down as team president prior to the final regular-season game.
The Kings, on the other hand, are looking for someone to take push their young, exciting roster into the playoffs. With a lineup featuring De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and others, the Sacramento coaching vacancy was expected to be highly coveted.
But as Amick and Cunningham reported, it appears the Kings have already made their choice.