Kings fire Luke Walton after seventh loss in eight games
Former Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento Kings fire Luke Walton after seventh loss in eight games

Luke Walton's tenure as head coach of the Sacramento Kings is over after he was fired Sunday during his third season with the team, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Kings finished 31-41 and missed the playoffs in each of Walton's first two seasons as coach. After starting the 2021-22 season 5-4, including a win over the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns, the Kings' season took a turn for the worse in November with seven losses over an eight-game stretch. The last was a 123-105 loss to the Utah Jazz that garnered national attention because a fan vomited on the floor in the fourth quarter.

Walton, 41, previously spent three seasons as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and had a 98-148 record during his tenure. His years with the Lakers were part of a six-year stretch with no postseason appearances for the team. The franchise had never before gone more than two seasons without reaching the playoffs.

According to Wojnarowski, associate head coach Alvin Gentry is "expected to be a strong candidate" to take over as interim coach following Walton's dismissal. Gentry has previously served as head coach of the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans.

Earlier this week, Kings forward Tristan Thompson blasted the notion that coaches weren't doing enough to motivate the squad.

“No man in this world should rely on another man to inspire them,” Thompson told reporters. “No one should ever need a coach to inspire you. If you don’t get inspired in a game then you shouldn’t be on the court. Losing teams, losing players, you need to get inspiration from your coach."

The Kings are scheduled to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.

Adam Stites is a Southern California native who lives in a new state every three months. He’s perennially disappointed by both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona State Sun Devils. His dog is named Ramsey after the best cornerback in the NFL. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamStites_.

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