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Sacramento Kings fire head coach Luke Walton

The Kings are off to a rough start, losing seven of eight games and with a 6-11 record in the Western Conference, currently in 12th place.
Credit: AP
Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton watches from the side lines during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The Sacramento Kings fired coach Luke Walton after getting off to a disappointing start in his third season leading the team, ESPN first reported Sunday.

The Kings are off to a rough start, losing seven of eight games and with a 6-11 record in the Western Conference, currently in 12th place.

“After a thorough evaluation of the season thus far, I decided to make a change to the head coach position,” said Kings General Manager Monte McNair in a statement. “I want to thank Luke for his efforts and contributions to our team.”

Walton's firing marks 18 head coaches who've gone out the door since the Kings arrived in Sacramento.

In a news conference after the announcement, general manager Monte McNair said the decision came after evaluating their last game.

“For me, the question became what’s the best way to move forward and that’s my job at every point of the season. After last night, that was the conclusion,” McNair said.

He said the last eight to nine games are not what he wants from Kings' basketball and that the main goal is to make the playoffs. 

"As we enter the season, a tough schedule and really even the games we lost, we felt like we should have won a lot of those. I think the belief is there, both in the locker room, among the rest of our staff. Obviously, we don’t take these decisions lightly, but this is one [firing Walton] I felt was necessary to do just that,” he said.

Looking forward, McNair said he wants the Kings to play faster, finish their possessions and be able to get off the floor on the defensive end and into offense.

ABC10 has confirmed that Alvin Gentry will take over for Luke Walton as the interim head coach for the Kings. Gentry was Walton's associate head coach and his contract runs through next season.

Gentry has more than 35 years of experience, according to a news release. Prior to the Kings, Gentry most recently served as the head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans from 2015-2020. 

In 1,105 games, Gentry has garnered a career record of 510-595, according to a news release.

Walton was named the head coach of the Kings in April 2019 after three years as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. According to a news release, Walton coached the Kings to a record of 68-93 during his time with the team.

Some of the Kings' most recent losses have been against the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors, and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Kings haven't made the playoffs for 15 consecutive seasons. The Kings are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the longest playoff drought in history. The Clippers' drought started in 1977 and ended in 1992.

The Kings are scheduled to play tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Watch more ABC10: De'Aaron Fox on his Kings dropping their 7th out of their last 8 games, falling to Jazz 123-105