Luke Walton Reportedly Will Return as Kings Head Coach After 31-41 Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton calls out instructions to the team during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. The Raptors won 144-123. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Despite posting back-to-back losing seasons, Luke Walton will reportedly return to the Sacramento Kings for a third season in 2021-22.

Per James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, Walton is being brought back as head coach after a 62-82 record in two seasons.

Then-Kings general manager Vlade Divac hired Walton as head coach in April 2019. They were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2004-05 season. Walton's hiring came a few days after he parted ways with the Lakers following a 98-148 record in three seasons.

In Walton's first year, the Kings had hopes of becoming a playoff contender. They had gone 39-43 in Dave Joerger's final season with an offense that ranked ninth in points per game. Their 39 wins were their most since they totaled 44 in 2005-06.

But Marvin Bagley III suffered a broken right thumb in the 2019-20 season opener, and Sacramento started 0-5. The Kings were included in the NBA restart in Florida but dropped five of their first six games en route to a 31-41 record.

The front office then let Bogdan Bogdanovic leave as a restricted free agent. He had ranked third on the team with 15.1 points per game on 37.2 percent three-point shooting.

The Kings did hit on their first-round draft pick last year. Tyrese Haliburton was one of the NBA's best rookies in 2020-21, but it wasn't enough to lift the franchise into postseason contention.

Sacramento went 31-41, marking the franchise's 15th consecutive losing season without a playoff appearance.

Walton will be given another chance to take the Kings and their promising core to the postseason in 2021-22.

Haliburton figures to get better after a stellar rookie season, Bagley is a quality offensive player, and De'Aaron Fox is one of the best young scoring guards in the NBA.

With another lottery pick, the Kings could become successful.


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