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Luke Walton believes his job is safe heading into the All-Star break

Despite online speculation that his job may be in jeopardy, Luke Walton believes he has support from the front office.

Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton fielded questions from the media following his teams 123-119 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night, and despite outside speculation that his job may be in jeopardy over the All-Star break, he spoke as if he'll be coaching the team when regular season basketball returns on March 10.

Luke Walton, on his plan for the All-Star break:

I'm going tomorrow morning to meet with Monte. We're going to go over some things, and then I'm going to pick up my kids from school and my wife and I are going to take them on a two day vacation to a remote hotel. I'm going to do everything I can not to think about anything other than my family for a couple of days, and then on Sunday I'll be back in Sacramento meeting with Monte again getting ready for the second half of the season.

The Sacramento Bee's Jason Anderson added in a report on Thursday that "sources with knowledge of the situation told The Sacramento Bee Walton believes his job is safe for now."

The Kings are just 2-11 over their last 13 games in a rough stretch of basketball that included an embarrassing 9-game losing streak. The worst may be over for Sacramento, though, as Walton's squad will head into the All-Star break with wins over the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers over their last four games.

Despite how the Kings have performed on the court over the last month or so, Walton doesn't believe he has lost internal support from his players or the front office, either, via Jason Anderson:

“As far as pressure from the front office, no,” Walton said. “I feel very connected with them and very locked in as far as where we’re at and where we’re trying to go as a group, and they’ve been very supportive.”

Walton has preached repeatedly about the good locker room culture he believes the Kings are cultivating, and as recently as Thursday night highlighted his great relationship with De'Aaron Fox. Is it all just coach speak? Possibly, but Walton has the reputation of being a 'players coach' and those in the know haven't reported anything suggesting that Luke has lost the team, so while the on-court product has been disappointing, there doesn't appear to be any major dysfunction behind-the-scenes that would contribute to a firing at this time.

At the very least, this isn't a Dave Joerger situation where font office friction is a factor in evaluating his job security. If Walton is let go at some point this season, it will likely be performance based, and if the Kings keep losing when the regular season resumes, I'm sure we'll have this conversation and speculation all over again.

As is standard procedure in Sacramento, however, Walton can believe his job is safe, and the front office can be supportive, but ownership could be on a different page entirely. At least for now, though, Luke Walton has every expectation that he will be coaching this team coming out of the All-Star break.

 

 

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Kosta
March 5, 2021 8:32 am

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Klam
Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 19
March 5, 2021 8:32 am

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Kosta
March 5, 2021 8:47 am
Reply to  Klam

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Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
RORDOG
March 5, 2021 9:58 am
Reply to  Kosta

lol I just googled Bill Walton and his wife. Quite the height difference:
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Funny story, after the UCLA vs. Memphis (elite 8?) game at Oracle back in ’06. We went to Francesco’s after the game, and Bill saddled up to the urinal next to me to take a pee. I was worried I’d get rained on he was so damn tall.

(Also, I just checked the box score from that game. 6 players went on to play for the Kings: Collison, Mbah a Moute, Afflalo, Farmar, Hollins and Dorsey)

Last edited 1 month ago by RORDOG
Kosta
March 5, 2021 10:13 am
Reply to  RORDOG

!!! another UCLA/Urinal story…

When I was attending Cal Poly SLO I rented a car and drove down to UCLA to watch a charity concert featuring Stevie Wonder and some other artists.

After the long drive, the first thing I did was find a bathroom. No one was in there except this short guy with a hat. It was Paul Simon, who would also be performing at the concert.

He was at a urinal. He saw me walk in and he put his head down, I’m guessing because he didn’t want me to bother him for an autograph or something like that.

I pretended not to see him and kept my distance.

But I’ve been kicking myself for years for not whistling Bridge Over Troubled Waters while it was just me and him in that bathroom at the urinals.

I mean, I was practically Art Garfunkel for that moment in time. Just me and and Paul Simon, pissing!

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
sonny
March 5, 2021 10:41 am
Reply to  Kosta

You must have been feelin’ groovy!

Hozr
March 6, 2021 5:28 pm
Reply to  sonny

Just me and Julio down by the urinal.

andy_sims
March 5, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  Kosta

♫I’m going to Westwood, Westwood
Because I have to pee
I’m going to Westwood♫

RikSmits
March 5, 2021 1:22 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Kodachrome or it didn’t happen.

HongKongKingsFan
March 5, 2021 8:49 am

Just know your role, Luke Walton….

you are here to help the team to TANK, and play the youth, and nothing else……………….!!

King4life
March 5, 2021 8:54 am

The tank commander is safe for this season. It’s not like another coach is going to make a huge difference on the team, especially if McNair ends up trading away some of the veterans. Get through the remainder of this season and allow McNair to conduct a coaching search in the offseason.

Lets just hope McNair’s coaching search is a bit more comprehensive then Vlade’s “let’s just hire my friend without considering any other candidates” plan.

02kingsfan
March 5, 2021 8:58 am

walton think his job is safe with the kangz is like me thinking I still have a shot in playing for the kings if an open gym tryout is conducted someday. But in all seriousness, what is he gonna say about this? No coach is gonna come out in public saying their job is in jeopardy when they still have the job

andy_sims
March 5, 2021 8:59 am

He’s probably right. McNair is going to hire his own coach, but I don’t guess that he wants to subject them to the current turdstorm, and so will wait.

Plus it gives me so many more opportunities to yell at the TV when Captain Dickface isn’t wearing his mask properly.

TerzoM
March 5, 2021 9:09 am

Time off to practice
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Klam
Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 19
March 5, 2021 9:47 am
Reply to  TerzoM

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Kangz_Landing
March 5, 2021 9:18 am

1) Maybe the scheme is actually good and it really is the players who are sucking in it and the players do actually believe in the coaching staff and actually do put the blame on themselves for not executing. If so, get better players.

2) Or maybe these players don’t care about winning and are happy with this player coach and padding their stats and getting big minutes to earn new contracts. Maybe that’s why there has been no player rumblings this year. Maybe they have it a little too easy. Show up to work get your 30 mpg, score alot of points, get alot of shots, get paid, go home. Maybe it is this because the passion to play hard and play D is gone. Hey, there’s no one behind you to take your job, this is a 9 man rotation at best. If so, get rid of the coach and the expensive players.

andy_sims
March 5, 2021 9:45 am
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

Speaking for Brown.says.good.or.bad, this is bad.

Kangz_Landing
March 5, 2021 10:10 am
Reply to  andy_sims

I know it’s bad. But this is the Kangz so the bad thoughts crossed my mind.

AmateurNerd
March 5, 2021 9:34 am

Luke thinks his job is safe?

He should watch some more tape.

RORDOG
March 5, 2021 9:40 am

I think they probably give him the rest of the season. Here’s my reasoning:

  • The offense has actually pretty damn good (9th in the league).
  • The defense is really bad, but the Kings basically have 2 defenders that could even be considered slightly above avg. (Barnes and Holmes).
  • The 2 main 5-man lineups (starters/closers) both have positive net ratings (starters: +6.1, closers: +16.8)
  • McNair intentionally didn’t add any competent depth to supplement the top 6
  • In addition, they basically benched the 7th man (Bjelly)

I know there’s plenty of counterarguments. I’m not blind. But when I look at this season it still feels like they will basically end up where I expected them to be. It doesn’t feel like they’ve really underachieved. It’s an incomplete roster, that was intentionally built in a way to fail in the short-term.

Ultimately, I don’t see any value in firing Walton now. We know what Gentry is, so there’s no point in giving him a chance to get the interim tag removed. Kalamian has been the architect of the worst defense in the league, so making him interim head coach doesn’t really send the right message. I highly doubt they’ll pull a Minnesota and poach a highly sought after assistant from a rival team (or college I guess). The one move I can get on board with is if they gave Rico Hines the interim head coaching job to basically pad his resume. It would be a nice way to keep the players motivated to play hard for the remainder of the season, even though it won’t changes anything long-term.

Kangz_Landing
March 5, 2021 11:06 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Agree with your 1st few points.

Sam and Jason had some good points about how this season is going according to plan. We’re fans so we hate the losing and the defensive garbage so it’s nice to keep the bigger picture in perspective.

1) Fox was ACTUALLY in the All Star convo. It didn’t lead anywhere but that’s a plus and his play on offense backs it up. Free throws aside 25-3-9 since Feb started.
2) Whether you want to attribute it to Walton or not, Haliburton has been amazing and is getting the 30 mpg he deserves.
3) Bagley is Bagley, but at least he’s showing something and is healthy.
4) Barnes and Holmes have been great for who they are. If this defense wasn’t historically bad, we’d be a .500 team. Thank God we’re not.

This season has been a success. That might buy Luke a 3rd year. Give me a thumbs down now thanks.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kangz_Landing
Roaddog
March 5, 2021 1:05 pm
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

2) I do not. Walton barely mouth-breathed on the kid before he hit the court this year

Kangz_Landing
March 5, 2021 1:18 pm
Reply to  Roaddog

I don’t disagree. Hali was and is already a stud.

Fastest jersey I ever bought.

LaBradfordsCreditCard
March 5, 2021 11:47 pm
Reply to  Kangz_Landing

Haliburton was good before he got here. If you’re going to give Luke credit for Hali, then why hasn’t he fixed Bagley? He coaches both of them.

Carl
March 5, 2021 12:16 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I think they probably give him the rest of the season. Here’s my reasoning:

Money.

Otis
March 5, 2021 1:43 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

The defense is really bad, but the Kings basically have 2 defenders that could even be considered slightly above avg. (Barnes and Holmes).

Did they have better defenders the last two seasons when they finished 19th and 21st in defense (aka, not with the worst defensive rating in recorded NBA history)?

Want-to-be-gm
March 5, 2021 5:27 pm
Reply to  Otis

Agree for the most part but I would not consider Barnes an above average defender. I’d also add that Haliburton is slightly above average trending toward significantly above average.

RORDOG
March 5, 2021 5:32 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I said slightly above average

RORDOG
March 5, 2021 5:30 pm
Reply to  Otis

What’s your point?

Otis
March 5, 2021 9:40 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

My point is I think you’re glossing over just how poorly this defense is playing (historically bad). You can’t just say “well, we’ve got no defensive talent” when a very similar roster was much better defensively the last few seasons.

The team doesn’t play hard at that end AND the scheme (if there is one) isn’t clicking. They make like Walton, but that’s a reflection on him.

richie88
March 5, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

According to Amick, there are 6 main reasons Walton’s job is safe for now (Fox, Hali, Bagley, $, the knowledge that McNair constructed a roster w/o a lot of depth & the lack of fans attending has reduced the perceived amount of pressure to fire him). Btw, Bjelly benched himself.

RORDOG
March 5, 2021 5:31 pm
Reply to  richie88

Bjelly benched himself after being told his role was going to be reduced.

Gregoryl
March 5, 2021 10:07 am

As long as he keeps Fox/Hali happy, I’m fine with keeping him around until the year ends. He has been a solid Tank Commander (whether he meant to or not) all season.

Want-to-be-gm
March 5, 2021 10:17 am

I’m not saying that Walton is Greg Popovich but if our fan base thinks a 9th coaching change is going to make a significant difference, I think they are under an allusion. Simply put, the failures of this franchise are not coaching or player development, it’s poor drafting, poor utilization of the free agent market and poor trading. We’ve had coaches leave and have subsequent success, we’ve had coaches with some prior success fail here. What we don’t have is players failing here and succeeding elsewhere so it’s not lack of player development. WCS, BMac, Papa, Justin Jackson, Giles, Stauskas, and a bunch of second rounders, all failed here and haven’t succeeded elsewhere.

We can keep firing coaches, but until we stop overpaying for free agents, missing on high first round draft picks, and not getting anything of value on occasion from late first or second round draft picks, the franchise will continue to flounder in the bottom 10 of the NBA.

I have no particular allegiance to Walton, but quite frankly we have much high priorities right now. We were projected to win 28 games this year by most knowledgeable experts and that is what we are on pace to do. So to blame it on coaching is really missing the issue. This mess is entirely on Vlade and the owner for hiring him and keeping him for far too long and cleaning it up won’t happen with just a simple coaching change AGAIN.

andy_sims
March 5, 2021 11:17 am
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I’m not saying that Walton is Greg Popovich but if our fan base thinks a 9th coaching change is going to make a significant difference, I think they are under an allusion (sic).

The eighth coaching change has turned out terribly, but we’d better stay the course, even though almost any other coach would be an improvement in every imaginable way.

“Sir, why do you keep smashing your face against that brick wall?”

“Because it feels so good when I stop.”

So, let’s stop.

Want-to-be-gm
March 5, 2021 1:06 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

And you know any other coach would be an improvement. There’s already been 8 who haven’t gotten it done but I guess the next one will be the one. Most of these fans who comment about coaching really don’t have a clue.

Otis
March 5, 2021 1:45 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

This is stupid. There were two that did get the job done (or, if you prefer, were getting the job done), but the dumbshits running the org moved on from them. Those two only got the jobs because two bad coaches were fired.

Walton sucks. Someone else will probably suck less. Just don’t hire another Walton.

There, you can now be a GM, young padawan.

Last edited 1 month ago by Otis
Want-to-be-gm
March 5, 2021 5:40 pm
Reply to  Otis

As I recall, it’s been quite awhile since the team had a 500 plus season so who got the job done. If you’re referring to Joerger, check out his record again. His last season the team was playing 500 basketball and then they added Barnes for nothing and the team floundered to 39 and 43 and missed the playoffs again. There’s no empirical evidence to suggest that any of these coaches were successful. That’s most likely because they inherited a disfunctional organization that hasn’t drafted well, traded well, or utilized the free agent market well. Hey you’ve played, coached, been in the locker rooms no I mean you really know how to scan the web to dig up statistics that fools people into thinking you know the game. Crap that means you know better than Kayte Hunter at least you believe that. Have at it false idol.

Otis
March 5, 2021 9:43 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

“The team floundered to 39 and 43”. LOL, do you even read what you write? That was the most wins by a Kings team in 12 seasons, and your boy has taken that progress and dumped it in the ocean.

Have at it false idol.

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LaBradfordsCreditCard
March 5, 2021 11:50 pm
Reply to  Otis

I have always wondered what would have happened if we chose Westphal over Cousins, or kept Malone.

And then, you know, followed that up by drafting Luka.

andy_sims
March 5, 2021 3:32 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

I am comfortable in my assertion that it would be nearly impossible to hire a less-qualified person to coach a basketball team than Luke Walton. He wasted an entire season slowing down one of the faster teams in the league in an attempt to improve the team’s defense. This was his plan.

Between that and forcing Buddy to play point. how has any of this worked out? He’s just bad at this. He wasn’t good at playing basketball, either, but I suppose he might be good at something, although that is exceedingly rare among failsons.

SelecaoKOJ
March 5, 2021 9:45 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Depends. Look at what Thibs has done in New
York.

LaBradfordsCreditCard
March 5, 2021 11:51 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Or Chicago, according to that one guy

LaBradfordsCreditCard
March 5, 2021 11:49 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Agreed and well-said, have a thumb.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
March 5, 2021 10:40 am

I guess he really DIDN’T watch the tape.

Carl
March 5, 2021 12:14 pm

If Walton is let go at some point this season, it will likely be performance based,

That ship has sailed.

At the very least, this isn’t a Dave Joerger situation where font office friction is a factor in evaluating his job security.

But it’s entirely likely that McNair can plainly see that Walton is terrible, but isn’t allowed to fire him because of money.

Want-to-be-gm
March 5, 2021 1:03 pm
Reply to  Carl

Ultimately it comes down to performance relative to expectations. I can’t find any knowledgeable analyst predicting more than 30 wins for this team. The roster sucks, our drafting has stunk, we’ve grossly overpaid for free agents and we haven’t made a difference making trade in a decade. Really now, we are going to point the biggest finger at Walton. Unless we can get someone new like Mark Few or Nancy Lieberman another NBA retread adds nothing. Does anybody think Gentry is going to make a difference.

LaBradfordsCreditCard
March 5, 2021 11:52 pm
Reply to  Want-to-be-gm

Mark Few? Nancy Lieberman? Huh?

Otis
March 5, 2021 1:47 pm
Reply to  Carl

That’s absolutely why. A franchise that has competent leadership (which I assume of McNair) and isn’t cash poor would have shown him the door prior to the start of the season.

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