The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for their next head coach after the team and now former head coach Luke Walton parted ways earlier in the week. The Lakers’ search for a new coach is just beginning, but it appears Walton’s search for a new team is already complete.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reports that Walton has made a deal with general manager Vlade Divac to become the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
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
There had been plenty of rumors that the Kings were interested in Walton, if he became available. Once he did, the Kings moved quickly and appeared to get their man.
Walton was a polarizing figure as head coach of the Lakers, taking over a team in a full rebuild before the signing of LeBron James drastically changed expectations. The Lakers were 20-14 before they were bombarded with injuries to about half the roster, including all of their best players.
Walton takes over a Kings team coming off their best season in recent years, although it wasn’t enough to save Dave Joerger’s job. Sacramento finished 39-43, good enough for ninth in the loaded Western Conference. Walton will have quality young talent to coach again with lower expectations on the shoulders of his new core of De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Buddy Hield and more.
It will be interesting to see if Walton brings over the same staff from Los Angeles. Walton’s staff was heavily criticized due to their inexperience and arguably slow development of the Lakers’ young players.
Either way, Walton leaves the Lakers behind as the team continues to figure out their new direction heading into one of the biggest offseasons in franchise history. Instead of trying to help the Lakers dig their way out of NBA purgatory, Walton now will be competing against them.
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