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Kings, Luke Walton

Kings cement themselves as NBA’s worst-run franchise by retaining Luke Walton

The Sacramento Kings were always one of the worst-run franchises in the NBA. Now, with the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns rising from mediocrity in 2021, it is beyond obvious that the KANGZ are the worst of the lot. Sacramento has reportedly decided to retain head coach Luke Walton for next season, a move which leaves a lot of NBA observers once again scratching their heads at the methods and motives of the front office in SacTown.

The Kings are coming off a 31-41 campaign in 2021 after a 31-41 season (cut short by the pandemic) in 2020. That’s consistency, all right… but of the worst kind. It should have meant that Luke Walton got his walking papers.

Walton has done nothing on the surface to deserve a third season in Sacramento. The talents of Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Tyrese Haliburton are not being translated into results. Moreover, the fact that the Knicks — THE KNICKS! JAMES DOLAN’S TEAM! — could engineer a surprising and sharp turnaround this season, while the Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, and Memphis Grizzlies also reached the postseason, casts the Kings’ stagnation in an even more negative and unfavorable light.

Walton continues to fail as an NBA head coach, and yet he doesn’t seem to pay much of a price for his failures.

It is also worth noting that while the Kings struggle to achieve anything of note in the NBA, the Atlanta Hawks fired coach Lloyd Pierce midway through the season. Nate McMillan has subsequently created a team which finished fifth in the Eastern Conference and has a real chance of reaching the second round of the playoffs.

The Hawks were willing to shake things up in the pursuit of improvement. The Kings are paralyzed with fear… and they also allowed Bogdan Bogdanovic to go to Atlanta, one key reason the Hawks are in the playoffs to begin with.

So many NBA teams which have struggled a lot in recent years are finding ways to improve. The Sacramento Kings are not part of that group… and yet they don’t see anything wrong with the job Luke Walton is doing. We will see next year what it might take to actually get Walton fired.

The Kings could have remade their franchise with a fresh hire. Imagine hiring Becky Hammon and making NBA history as the first organization to hire a full-time female head coach.

The Kings could have also selected a candidate from the NBA’s large pool of assistant coaches who are waiting for their big break and deserve a chance to show what they can do. Consider this long list compiled last fall. One of the names on this list, Chris Finch, became the Minnesota Timberwolves’ head coach midway through this past season. He has improved the roster and developed Anthony Edwards into a star.

The Kings didn’t need to hire a rock star as a coach, just a hungry up-and-comer with something to prove. It would have been far better than staying with Walton, who has Sacramento on the road to nowhere.

The Sacramento Kings were nationally embarrassed when previous general manager Vlade Divac — who comes from the same part of the world as Luka Doncic — passed on the Slovenian sensation and took Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. A blunder of that magnitude should have led to a complete overhaul of how the franchise did business… but this Walton decision shows that absolutely nothing has changed.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is presiding over a sinking ship… or actually, that’s not even accurate. Sacramento has already sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Ranadive refuses to do anything to rescue his team. It’s not a secret in the NBA that Ranadive is a joke, viewed as an atrocious owner — not just in current terms, but on a historic scale.

Not drafting Luka. Not firing Luke. Luka or Luke, the Kings lack any luck… and they lack luck because they are utterly incompetent and rudderless under their current ownership and front office.

James Dolan? He’s about to watch his Knicks host a playoff series. Robert Sarver? His Suns are the No. 2 seed in the West. Multiple bad owners in the NBA are having a moment of satisfaction and achievement this season. The Kings being absent from that group — and showing no signs of even the slightest degree of improvement — shows how poorly run this NBA franchise truly is.

Vivek Ranadive keeps wrecking his own royal palace with these Kings.