By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke Walton is officially the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings, the club announced. Vlade Divac hired Walton in the place of fired coach Dave Joerger.
San Antonio Spurs assistant and four-time EuroLeague champion Ettore Messina was reportedly considered for the position.
Today, Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac named Luke Walton as the team’s new head coach. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I have known Luke for many years and I am so excited to welcome him and his family to the Sacramento Kings,” said Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “I look forward to his leadership on the court as we work to build a winning culture for many years to come.”
Walton joins the Kings after spending the previous three seasons as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he improved the team’s win total each season while simultaneously developing their young roster. In his inaugural season (2016-17), L.A. saw a nine-game improvement to 26 wins from a franchise-worst record the year prior, and saw another nine-game leap to 35 wins in 2017-18 before finishing with 37 wins last year.
Before joining the Lakers, Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors from 2014-15 to 2015-16. During his time with the team, they appeared in consecutive NBA Finals and won the NBA Championship in 2015. He received Western Conference Coach of the Month honors (October/November 2015) while serving as interim head coach in Steve Kerr’s absence and leading the Warriors to a 39-4 start for the 2015-16 season, including winning the first 24 games, an NBA record. Prior to joining the Warriors coaching ranks, he served as a player development coach for the Lakers G-League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, in the 2013-14 season. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout.
Walton’s decade-long NBA playing career with the Lakers (2003-12) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2012-13) spanned 564 regular season games averaging 4.7 points (.429 FG%, .326 3pt%, .715 FT%), 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. The San Diego native was selected 32nd overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Lakers, where he made seven postseason appearances and was a member of back-to-back NBA Championship teams in 2009 and 2010.
Walton played collegiately at the University of Arizona where he was named an All-Pac-10 performer twice in his four-year career (1999-2003), received John R. Wooden All-American honors as a junior and was a Wooden Award Finalist as a senior.
Walton and his wife Bre are the parents of son Lawson and daughter Landen.