Top Candidates for Kings to Replace Luke Walton After Reported Firing

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 21, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Luke Walton of the Sacramento Kings reacts during the game against the Indiana Pacers on November 7, 2021 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings reportedly fired head coach Luke Walton on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, after the team's disappointing 6-11 start to the season. 

Per Woj, associate head coach Alvin Gentry will take over as interim head coach:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: Alvin Gentry will become the Kings’ interim coach. Gentry is already under contract through 2022-2023, gets a raise to take interim job and agreement on some benchmarks of success rest of this season with team to try and keep job longer.

Generally, teams will stick with in-house interim coaches if they have a vacancy midseason. And per Woj's report, it sounds as though Gentry will be given the rest of the season at the helm.

But if the Kings can get a big-name addition at head coach, however, they may pull the trigger after the season. So who is on the market that might eventually entice them?

Mark Jackson is a name worth monitoring. He met with the Kings all the way back in 2014 after the team fired Mike Malone and interviewed with them again in 2016.

Former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts is an interesting possibility. He didn't take on a job as an assistant after being fired from the Blazers after the 2020-21 season and is currently available. With a 517-486 career record and nine playoff berths to his name—eight in a row with Portland—he has an excellent resume.

Mike D’Antoni, currently working as a New Orleans Pelicans assistant, always has his name come up in consideration for coaching gigs, and his pace-and-space style would likely fit Sacramento's young guard trio of De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell well. 

Both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy could be possibilities. Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson worked wonders with the rebuilding Brooklyn Nets years ago, laying the foundation for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to ultimately choose the team in free agency. San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon was a candidate for several vacancies this offseason. 

The Kings are going to have some options. Making an external hire midseason sounds unlikely, but come the summer, there will be some big names out there.