Kings Head Coach Luke Walton Thanks ‘Great’ Lakers Young Core, Enjoyed Coaching And Developing Them
Rocky Widner-NBAE via Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Luke Walton, he interviewed and became the Sacramento Kings head coach.

While Walton wanted to remain with the Lakers despite the circumstances, it was later reported they actually fired him.

As the Lakers will meet with three potential candidates to replace Walton, the 39-year-old was introduced as the Kings head coach.

With the Kings providing Walton a similar opportunity to when he first became a head coach, he thanked the Lakers young core, via Kings:

“There’s a great young core down there. I thank them and enjoyed that time getting to coach them, develop them, and watch them improve.”

When Walton was originally hired prior to the 2016-17 season, he was viewed as a young head coach leading the team’s young core. However, when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over, they traded away some of the young core to create cap space for two max-contract slots.

Once LeBron James signed in free agency, the expectations changed from developing the young core to competing for championships. And in an early-season meeting with Johnson, it became evident that Walton was not a part of the team’s future.

Despite all of the injuries and Anthony Davis trade rumors, Walton was ultimately held responsible for them missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. As there is uncertainty in Los Angeles, Walton has an opportunity to grow with another young core in Sacramento.