SACRAMENTO, Calif — Less than a week after inking General Manager Vlade Divac to a four-year extension, the Sacramento Kings announced Monday morning they hired Luke Walton to replace Dave Joerger as head coach.
The Kings introduced Walton as their new head coach at a press conference Monday afternoon. Walton and Divac made it clear that building to win in the future is a thing of the past.
“We want to be in the playoffs and win championships," Walton said. "All of that starts with how we create and build our habits."
ABC10's Sean Cunningham broke the news Saturday that Divac and the Kings would sign Walton by the end of the weekend.
On Monday, the team made it official.
"I found my teammate and we’re going to work together," Divac said of Walton. "It’s going to be an exciting year for us."
Walton’s predecessor, Joerger led the Kings to a 39-42 record — the team's best in 13 seasons. Joerger was hired in 2016 to replace George Karl after Divac failed to lure in Luke Walton that same year, according to sources.
Walton ultimately took a head coaching job with the Los Angeles Lakers where he spent the last three seasons trying to build a young team following Kobe Bryant's retirement.
During his three-year tenure with the Lakers, Walton's teams had an overall 98-148 record. Before the Lakers, Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors championship teams.
Walton took the role of fill-in coach during the Warriors 2015-2016 season while head coach Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery. The team went 39-4 during those games.
Kerr told ABC10 after the team's Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Clippers that "[the] Kings team is really impressive and exciting and I love their future. I think they got the right coach for the job."
During the press conference, Walton said the Kings' head coaching vacancy was the most desirable opportunity in the NBA market.
Walton touted the Kings' Golden 1 Center, practice facilities and "the type of atmosphere they have at their games" as some of the league's best.
“These opportunities don’t come around very often,” Walton said.
The terms of Walton's contract with the team have not yet been made public.
Editor's note: This story was updated to add further news and context from the Sacramento Kings' introductory press conference of new head coach Luke Walton.
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