Walberg joined the Kings last February as part of head coach George Karl's staff, but Mannix reported that the team is looking to go in a different direction and hire a "defensive-minded coach" to replace him.
General manager Vlade Divac told reporters Karl was opposed to the move but will have the opportunity to hire a replacement.
Karl said he was "disappointed" and "confused" by the decision to fire Walberg and said the blame should rest with him. He added that Walberg was one of the 10 best coaches he'd ever worked with. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee noted that Karl "took the decision hard."
While the Kings have been mired in turmoil all season long, an offense Walberg helped orchestrate has hardly been the team's biggest problem.
However, Sacramento's front office has been contemplating a shakeup for weeks now, so it can't be considered a total shock that Walberg was canned.
Following weeks of speculation regarding Karl's future as head coach, the Kings' front office seemingly did a heel turn and announced it would retain the 64-year-old.
"George is our coach and we're collectively working through our issues," Divac said on Feb. 9, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
Based on the way things have played out lately, Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes pointed to Walberg's dismissal as a cover-up for the team's other dysfunctional woes:
Kings coaching staff been dealing with just as much turmoil, dysfunction amongst each other as management/ownership. Walberg a scapegoat.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 18, 2016
George Karl had nothing to do with firing Walberg. Sas Divac's call, I'm told. Karl, Walberg great friends. Karl's Kings tenure near close.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 18, 2016
ProBasketballTalk's Kurt Helin agreed with that notion by tossing out a cross-sport comparison:
Fire the hitting coach. https://t.co/ew3vDrGx4P— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) February 18, 2016
While the offense hasn't been an issue for Sacramento, the defense certainly has been. The Kings rank dead last in opponents' scoring average (109.1 points per game), and a defensive rating of 108.1 ranks just 23rd overall.
But it's not like defensive struggles are anything new to the Kings. The team hasn't posted a defensive rating below 108 since the 2005-06 season, and the team has run through nine different head coaches in that span.
In other words, defensive ineptitude may be stitched into the fabric of the franchise at this point.
Firing Walberg could open the door for some defensive improvement as the Kings seek to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06, but they could also lose some valuable punch on offense as a result.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.