Sacramento Kings fire coach Luke Walton after slow start to season concludes losing tenure

Entering the NBA season, only one NBA coach was truly on the hot season.

That was Sacramento’s Luke Walton, and on Sunday, the Kings fired Walton after a 6-11 start, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the news was announced by the team.

Walton is the first NBA coach dismissed this season. Former NBA coach Alvin Gentry and former Kings player Doug Christie, both Sacramento assistants, are potential interim replacements for Walton.

Luke Walton
Luke Walton

Walton, who was also fired by the Los Angeles Lakers after three seasons, was 68-93 in two-plus seasons with Sacramento, going 31-41 in his first two seasons with the franchise.

Even in a deep Western Conference, expectations were higher for the Kings, who are in 12th place in the conference.

The Kings rank 26th in defensive efficiency, and their season has been marked by both close and blowout losses. A recent four-game losing streak coupled with just one victory in the team’s last eight games sealed Walton’s fate.

Walton was Sacramento’s eighth coach, including interim coaches, in the past 11 seasons, and the Kings have not reached the playoffs or had a winning record since 2005-2006.

Before leading the Kings, Walton coached the Lakers for three seasons and went 98-148 with no playoff appearances.

Prior to his first head coaching job, Walton was an assistant for the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors and served as interim head coach for the first 43 games (39-4 record) the next season while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery.

In 2019, a civil lawsuit against Walton that alleged sexual assault was dropped.

Walton is the son of Basketball Hall of Famer and ESPN college basketball analyst Bill Walton.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Luke Walton fired: Sacramento Kings coach let go after three seasons