Former Lakers coach reaches deal


What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers breaks down the Lakers parting ways with Luke Walton and where the team goes from here.

The Sacramento Kings didn’t waste any time in their search for a new coach.

Barely 24 hours after Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers “mutually agreed” to part ways, Walton is heading to Sacramento to take the reins.

Walton and the Kings reached an agreement on a deal Saturday, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. They were granted anonymity by USA TODAY Sports because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal.

Walton, who spent three years with the Lakers and left with a 98-148 record, will take over a club that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 13 seasons. It has a promising young core including De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III and Buddy Hield.

Walton, 39, will be reunited with former Laker Vlade Divac, the Kings’ general manager. He and Divac played together in 2004-05, Divac’s last season as a player.

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The news first was reported by The Athletic.

Despite the addition of LeBron James in the offseason, Walton was not able to get the Lakers playing at a high, consistent level. James was injured during the Christmas Day game against Golden State and missed 17 games. The front office whiffed on a chance to bring Anthony Davis into the fold before the trade deadline. And injuries decimated the team down the stretch.

The Kings on Thursday fired Dave Joerger after he helped lead the team to its best record in 13 seasons. 

Divac, who recently agreed to a contract extension, also sent assistant general manager Brandon Williams packing. 

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“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” Divac said in a news release after the Joerger move was officially announced. 

Contributing: Jeff Zillgitt


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