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3 reasons the Sacramento Kings are making a mistake by retaining Luke Walton

The Sacramento Kings just closed up shop on yet another non-playoff season, finishing with a 31-41 record under embattled head coach Luke Walton.

This led to speculation that Walton could be jettisoned from California’s capital city. According to James Ham of NBC Sports California, that’s not going to be the case.

Citing a relationship with general manager Monte McNair and support from Sacramento Kings players, Ham reports that Walton will return for the 2021-22 season. For long-suffering Kings fans, this has to be considered cringeworthy. Here’s a look at three reasons why Sacramento is making a mistake.

Luke Walton’s track record as a head coach

Sacramento Kings to retain Luke Walton
April 14, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Walton earned two NBA championships during a playing career that spanned 11 seasons. Since hanging up his basketball shoes, he’s been an unmitigated disaster as a head coach.

This included Walton posting a 98-148 record in three seasons as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach from 2016-19. He posted equal 31-41 records in his first two seasons as the Kings’ head coach.

Walton, 41, earned a name for himself in the coaching ranks as the Golden State Warriors’ interim head man back in 2015-16. He posted an eye-opening 39-4 record with Steve Kerr sidelined while recovering from back surgery. That Warriors team ultimately finished the campaign with an NBA-record 73-9 mark. Realistically, this iteration of the Warriors could have gone without a coach and won that many regular-season games.

The Sacramento Kings remain irrelevant under Luke Walton

Sacramento currently boasts the longest NBA Playoff drought at a whopping 15 seasons. To put this into perspective, the last time these Kings played postseason basketball, Metta World Peace and Mike Bibby were their leading scorers.

That very same 2005-06 NBA season saw Steve Nash win the MVP. LeBron James was in just his third season in the Association.

After two substandard seasons to begin his coaching career in Sacramento, there’s really no reason to believe that Walton can somehow turn this thing around.

Time for a new era of Sacramento Kings basketball

Sacramento Kings, Luke Walton
Mar 27, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) celebrates with guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) and guard Buddy Hield (24) after scoring a three point basket at the buzzer to win the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One of the few veteran players on this otherwise young roster summed up the Kings’ 2020-21 performance in a perfect manner one day after their season finale.

“The franchise has hit the mark with players having good individual seasons, but it has to translate into wins,” Harrison Barnes said Monday. “Maturity, defense and consistency must improve and there can’t be anymore ‘my bads’ for repeated mistakes.”

Doesn’t that speak to some coaching issues with the Kings? As for Sacramento’s current roster make up, look for both Marvin Bagley III and Buddy Hield to be calling new NBA cities home next season. Both had their issues with Luke Walton and the Kings’ brass.

This means that stud guards De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton will be the faces of the Kings’ franchise moving forward. Why not get them fresh head coach to help lead the charge in California’s capital city?

There’s a ton of top-end candidates out there for head-coaching positions, most of whom could help this star duo excel moving forward. Former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson joins Mike D’Antoni and Becky Hammon as three options who come to mind first.

At the very least, making this decision one day after yet another lost season came to a conclusion can’t be seen as good for the Sacramento Kings.