Sacramento Kings fire head coach Luke Walton, Alvin Gentry named as replacement

Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento Kings have fired head coach Luke Walton.

The Sacramento Kings confirmed the news with FOX40 Sunday morning.

“After a thorough evaluation of the season thus far, I decided to make a change to the head coach position,” said Kings General Manager Monte McNair. “I want to thank Luke for his efforts and contributions to our team.”

The Kings have lost seven of their last eight games with their most recent loss to the Utah Jazz Saturday night.

“They got us again,” said Walton in his final post-game interview. “For whatever reason we’re struggling to make shots right now and that’s making it more challenging on us. The fourth quarter was a disaster for us on both ends of the court. We weren’t stopping people and we weren’t making shots.”

Walton had a 68-93 record in two-plus seasons as coach, failing to get Sacramento back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

“We all know all of us have to be better, especially over the last two weeks,” McNair said. “We are not meeting expectations.”

The Kings ranked near the bottom of the league in several defensive statistics under Walton’s leadership, including scoring and shooting percentage.

McNair announced that Alvin Gentry has been named interim head coach, replacing Walton.

Prior to the Kings, Gentry most recently served as head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans and had head coaching stops with the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Walton was named head coach of the Kings in April 2019 after spending three years as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. During his time with the Kings, he coached the team to a record of 68-93 (.422).

Sacramento has tried to build a core around recent lottery picks like De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell.

But the biggest mistake came the year before Walton arrived when Sacramento took Marvin Bagley III second overall, ahead of both Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Bagley has played in only four games this season as he has fallen out of favor.

The Kings have been at the bottom of the league for years, with their current 15-year stretch without a playoff berth tied for the longest in NBA history with the Clippers franchise, which missed the playoffs from 1977-91 while playing in Buffalo, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Walton posted 31-41 records in each of his first two seasons but was unable to take a step forward this year and was fired after losing seven of the past eight games.

The situation in Sacramento has been so bad that Walton’s .422 winning percentage with the team is the second best of the 18 coaches since the franchise moved to California in 1985.

Former Kings coach and broadcaster Jerry Reynolds, who has since retired said it’s sad to see Walton leave, but it comes down to wins and losses.

“You need more wins than loses,” Reynolds said. “People in the front office felt like this team had more talent than their record.”

Rick Adelman had a mark of .633 and led the Kings to the playoffs and a winning record in all eight seasons in charge. Sacramento hasn’t had a winning record in a season with any other coach since leaving Kansas City.

The Kings are currently 12th in the NBA’s Western Conference standings with a record of 6-11.

This story is developing.

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