Kings confirm Luke Walton is new coach

It didn’t take long for Luke Walton to find a new job.

The former Lakers coach was named Monday as the Kings’ next coach, replacing Dave Joerger, who was fired last week after a 39-win season.

“I have known Luke for many years and I am so excited to welcome him and his family to the Sacramento Kings,” Kings GM Vlade Divac said in a statement. “I look forward to his leadership on the court as we work to build a winning culture for many years to come.”

Per KIngs policy, no terms of Walton’s contract were made public, but The Athletic reported on Saturday that the deal is expected to run through 2022-23.

Walton and the Lakers “mutually agreed to part ways” Friday, ending an eventful week in Los Angeles as Magic Johnson unexpectedly stepped down from his position as Lakers president earlier in the week.

In three seasons with the Lakers, Walton went 98-148. The Lakers continued to improve each year, winning more games every year he was at the helm, but his late-game management was questioned at times toward the end of his tenure and there was speculation throughout much of the season he would be let go. 

Walton will take over a Kings team that has missed the playoffs for 13 straight seasons.

Sacramento had a strong start to its 2018-19 campaign but lost 17 of its final 26 games and went just 11-17 after acquiring small forward Harrison Barnes from Dallas on Feb. 7. The trade was intended to help bolster Sacramento’s chances of making the playoffs, but the Kings fell short.

Sacramento finished the regular season ninth in the Western Conference and was in playoff contention for much of the campaign. The Kings have young, emerging talent with De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Buddy Hield and appear to be on the rise.