It’s nice to be Luke.
Almost immediately after Luke Walton was let go as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, he was hired as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. By “almost immediately,” I mean he parted ways with the Lakers at 4:01 PM on April 12, while news broke of his imminent hire in Sacramento at 3:37 PM on April 13.
Walton found a new job in less than 24 hours. Must be nice.
Sacramento GM Vlade Divac is offering Luke Walton his franchise’s coaching job and there’s confidence on both sides that a deal can be reached quickly, league sources tell ESPN. Divac and Walton are meeting this weekend.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 13, 2019
After all, Walton amassed just a 98-148 record in Los Angeles, coaching a team that missed the playoffs — badly — with the best player in the world on his roster. Now, he gets to replace Dave Joerger, who coached Sacramento to its best record since 2006, and takes control of one of the most promising young cores in the NBA.
Once again: Must be nice.
The Kings job was the most coveted one available before Walton’s hire, not including the Lakers’. They have a group of talented young players, including speed demon De’Aaron Fox, streak shooters Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield, and last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley III. If Sacramento develops and retains its talent, it could evolve into a Western Conference powerhouse over the next five seasons.
Walton will now be in charge of ensuring that happens. There isn’t enough information available to determine how good a coach Walton is. Whatever progress he made with developing Los Angeles’ young core was obliterated when Magic Johnson signed LeBron James, then built around James with pieces that didn’t fit. There was a dark cloud hovering over the franchise all year long. It’s amazing that the Sacramento job is considered stable in comparison to the Lakers position.
Walton spent a good chunk of his previous coaching career as Steve Kerr’s assistant in Golden State. His second act as a head coach comes after just 23 hours and 36 minutes of unemployment, and it’ll be considered an upgrade in off-court conditions.
Teach us your ways, Luke. The game needs you.