By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer
The Sacramento Kings sacked coach Luke Walton on Sunday after a disappointing start to his third season at the helm.
Walton was informed of the decision a day after a 123-105 home loss to Utah that dropped the Kings to 6-11 this season after their seventh loss in eight games.
“We all know we all have to be better, especially over the past two weeks,” said general manager Monte McNair. “We are not meeting expectations. It’s not just about Luke. It’s on me, the rest of our coaches and players. Everyone recognizes him.
Walton was 68-93 in more than two seasons as a coach, failing to bring Sacramento back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
ESPN first reported the shot.
Associate coach Alvin Gentry takes over on an interim basis. Gentry was most recently head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans (2015-20). He’s also had head coach saves with Miami, Detroit, the Clippers and Phoenix. He has a career record of 510-595.
The Kings have ranked near the bottom of the league in several defensive stats under Walton’s leadership, including points 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 have shown that we can do it. We’re going to come back to it and Alvin will be the guy who takes us there.
But the biggest mistake came the year before Walton arrived when the Kings took Marvin Bagley III in second, ahead of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Bagley has only played four games this season as he fell out of favor.
The Kings have been at the bottom of the league for years, with their current 15-year period without a playoff spot tied for the longest in NBA history with the Clippers franchise, which missed the 1977 playoffs. in 1991 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 18 coaches since the franchise moved to California in 1985.
Rick Adelman was rated .633 and led the Kings to the playoffs and winning record in all eight seasons in charge. Sacramento hasn’t had a single-season winning record with another coach since leaving Kansas City.
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