Kings backing Luke Walton after assault allegation, report says

Luke Walton still has the Kings’ support, despite the sexual assault allegations the newly-hired coach is facing.

According to The Athletic, which cited unidentified sources, the two sides are “moving forward with their working relationship” and there doesn’t appear to be any momentum toward firing Walton, who was hired earlier this month just three days after he parted ways with the Lakers. 

Right now, according to the report, the focus for the Kings is to work with the NBA to find the truth regarding the allegations made against Walton by a former host on Spectrum SportsNet LA, Kelli Tennant. Sacramento doesn’t intend to make a decision on Walton’s future with the franchise until the league and Sacramento find out all of the facts around Tennant’s claims.

The Kings on Monday released a statement addressing the matter, saying: “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”

The Athletic reports that the investigation has been delayed because all parties haven’t been able to access Tennant’s lawsuit, which was first reported by TMZ. Tennant, however, held a press conference Tuesday after a civil lawsuit alleging Walton sexually assaulted her was accepted by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. 

Tennant claims Walton made unwanted advances toward her in a Santa Monica, California, hotel room in 2014. In the lawsuit, Tennant alleges she met with Walton to drop off her copy of a book and then he invited her up to his room, where he pinned her to the bed and forcibly kissed and groped her, according to ESPN.

She also claims he “forced an aggressive hug” and made comments about her outfit at a charity event in 2017.

“Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations,” Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, wrote in a statement to The Athletic. “The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”

The Kings told The Athletic on Monday that they were not aware of the accusations until TMZ reported the news and that they will wait for the facts before making a decision on Walton’s future.