PHOENIX SUNS

Sacramento Kings fire coach Luke Walton, name Alvin Gentry interim

Nov 21, 2021, 7:58 PM
Head coach Luke Walton of the Sacramento Kings looks on as the Kings take on the Dallas Mavericks a...
Head coach Luke Walton of the Sacramento Kings looks on as the Kings take on the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on October 31, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. 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 License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings fired coach Luke Walton on Sunday after getting off to a disappointing start in his third season in charge.

Walton was informed of the decision a day after a 123-105 home loss to Utah that dropped the Kings to 6-11 on the season after their seventh loss in eight games.

“We all know all of us have to be better, especially over the last two weeks,” general manager Monte McNair said. “We’re not meeting expectations. That’s not just on Luke. That’s on me, the rest of our coaches and players. Everyone acknowledges that.”

Walton had a 68-93 record in two-plus seasons as coach, failing to get Sacramento back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

ESPN first reported the firing.

Associate coach Alvin Gentry takes over on an interim basis. Gentry most recently served as head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans (2015-20). He has also had head coaching stops with Miami, Detroit, the Clippers and Phoenix. He has a career record of 510-595.

The Kings ranked near the bottom of the league in several defensive statistics under Walton’s leadership, including scoring and shooting percentage.

Sacramento has tried to build a core around recent lottery picks such as De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell.

“I think we have the talent,” McNair said. “We’ve shown that we can do that. We’re going to get back to that and Alvin will be the guy to lead us there.”

But the biggest mistake came the year before Walton arrived when the Kings took Marvin Bagley III second overall, ahead of both Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Bagley has played in only four games this season as he has fallen out of favor.

The Kings have been at the bottom of the league for years, with their current 15-year stretch without a playoff berth tied for the longest in NBA history with the Clippers franchise, which missed the playoffs from 1977-91 while playing in Buffalo, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Walton posted 31-41 records in each of his first two seasons.

The situation in Sacramento has been so bad that Walton’s .422 winning percentage with the team is the second best of the 18 coaches since the franchise moved to California in 1985.

Rick Adelman had a mark of .633 and led the Kings to the playoffs and a winning record in all eight seasons in charge. Sacramento hasn’t had a winning record in a season with any other coach since leaving Kansas City.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns smash Nets, return home with 16-game winning streak intact

Take the Phoenix Suns' winning streak out of the equation and these past two days are still their most impressive in a young season thus far.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and guard...
Wills Rice

Suns wrap up road trip with 16th straight win by beating Nets

The Suns wrapped up their road trip with a 113-107 win over the Nets, extending the win streak to 16 games, one off the franchise record.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker (1) drives to the basket around New York Knicks' Alec Burks (18) during ...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker shines in New York again, Suns emphatically win 15th straight vs. Knicks

The Phoenix Suns' winning streak reached 15 games and Devin Booker has really come along in the last two games of it.
2 days ago
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns in action against Immanuel Quickley #5 of the New York Knicks dur...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns’ winning streak hits 15 after beating New York Knicks

The Phoenix Suns' winning streak was extended to 15 games on Friday after a 118-97 win over the New York Knicks.
2 days ago
Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets arrives prior to Game Three of the Second Round of the 2019 NB...
Kellan Olson

Chris Paul’s HBCU Challenge at Footprint Center is PG’s latest effort to increase awareness

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul helped bring together the Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge at Footprint Center on Sunday and Monday.
2 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after Eno Benjamin #26 (not pictured) scores a ...
Kevin Zimmerman

What Arizona sports fans can be thankful for in 2021

The spirit of Thanksgiving is about the gratefulness that comes with not having it all, but enjoying the some that you do have.
5 days ago
Sacramento Kings fire coach Luke Walton, name Alvin Gentry interim