Timing of Luke Walton’s firing is another Kangz moment for Kings – The Athletic

Why now?

That’s the underlying question behind the Sacramento Kingsdecision to fire Luke Walton after a mildly disappointing but not necessarily shockingly unexpected 6-11 start.

It’s a common maxim in NBA front-office circles that if you fire a coach in the first third of the season, it probably means you should have made the change in the offseason.

Certainly, this old saw applies in Sacramento’s case, where the Kings brought in a new front office that didn’t hire Walton, and the owner was rumored to be rather unenthused about his work as well. The fact the Kings hadn’t deviated much from preseason expectations and yet still pulled the trigger on a coaching change speaks volumes about their priors — they never believed in Walton.

The Kings owed Walton the same salary either way, but had they made the move in the offseason, they would have had the offseason to sift through candidates before the game of musical coaching candidates removes several of the most promising ones.

Now they’re left in the morass of midseason coaching changes, where the main option left on the table is to promote the previous coach’s top assistant. Such battlefield promotions can occasionally trigger a renaissance (see McMillan, Nate), but they rarely reflect a well-thought-out solution.

As for whether Walton ought to have been fired, that’s a dicier question. It’s not totally clear he was part of the problem, but he sure as heck wasn’t part of the solution either. The Kings were unmistakably bad on defense, worse than their talent level seemed to indicate (30th last year, 23rd this year).

Add comment