The Sacramento Kings apparently were as surprised as anyone by Monday's reports that coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexual assault. And the team won't make any quick decisions because of it.
The Athletic's Sam Amick cited a source in reporting that Kings general manager Vlade Divac, who hired Walton last week on a four-year contract, didn't know about the accusations before they became public. Amick also reported that "it was too early in this fact-finding process to explore the possibility of terminating Walton’s contract." So, Walton will stay in Sacramento while the facts come out.
The Kings issued this statement after the news broke: "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."
Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant, formerly of Spectrum SportsNet, filed a lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing Walton of sexually assaulting her in his Santa Monica hotel room when he was an assistant coach for the Warriors. Tennant also cited further incidents, which the suit called a “pattern of mistreatment,” including when Walton was the Los Angeles Lakers' coach, starting in 2016.
Walton has retained attorney Mark Baute, who represented Minnesota Timberwolves star Derrick Rose in a rape lawsuit in which he was cleared, to defend him in the case.
Walton and the Lakers parted ways on April 12, but the team reportedly was open to keeping the coach. Walton was offered the chance to stay in LA after president Magic Johnson abruptly resigned on April 9, but he was ready to leave for various reasons, Amick reported. Just days later, he had a new job in Sacramento.