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Kings, NBA announce joint investigation into Luke Walton allegations

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Kings, NBA announce joint investigation into Luke Walton allegations

SACRAMENTO -- The Luke Walton situation isn’t going away anytime soon.

After two days of back and forth between accuser Kelli Tennant and her attorney and Walton’s representation, the Sacramento Kings and the NBA have announced a joint investigation into Tennant's allegations of sexual assault against Walton.

KINGS AND NBA ANNOUNCE JOINT INVESTIGATION
-- Team Hires Independent Investigator --

 

Sacramento, CA – The Sacramento Kings and the National Basketball Association announced today that they have commenced a joint investigation into the allegations contained in a civil lawsuit filed Monday against Kings Head Coach Luke Walton.
 
The Kings have hired Sue Ann Van Dermyden, founding partner of Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, who is an expert on employment law with decades of experience in conducting investigations, and Jennifer Doughty, a veteran investigator and senior associate attorney at Van Dermyden Maddux. They will lead the Kings investigatory team.
 
The NBA's investigatory team will be led by Elizabeth Maringer, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Integrity and Investigations. Prior to joining the NBA, Ms. Maringer served 12 years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, including three as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
 
The Kings and the NBA take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.

It appears that the Kings are ready to wait out the process. Walton signed a four-year contract to become the team’s new head coach on April 15. A week later, Tennant, a former broadcaster for Spectrum SportsNet, filed a civil suit against Walton in a Southern California court.

The initial incident, which allegedly took place in 2014, occurred while Walton was an assistant coach on the Golden State Warriors staff. During Tennant's press conference on Tuesday, she alleged Walton engaged in continued inappropriate behavior all the way up to 2017, while he served as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to a league source, it is too early to give an estimation on how long this may last, but the investigation has already commenced.

Blazers' Damian Lillard vouches for play-in tournament when NBA resumes

Blazers' Damian Lillard vouches for play-in tournament when NBA resumes

It remains unclear and unknown when or how the NBA season will resume. The Kings, currently 28-36 and on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, are awaiting word on if and when their season will continue.

One thing is clear, though: Damian Lillard won't play games amid the coronavirus pandemic if his Portland Trail Blazers aren't given a true shot at the playoffs. 

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," Lillard said to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games.

The Blazers have played 66 games so far this season. Lillard refuses to be a part of a ploy to get to 70 games, which is the minimum to fulfill regional television deals. But if there's a chance to win a ring, he's all-in.

"If they come back and say it's something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we're playing for playoff spots, then I think that's perfect," Lillard said.

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

There are a number of ways the NBA can go to continue the season. Will all teams be involved? Will there be a play-in tournament that Lillard suggested, or a 16-team tournament regardless of conferences? What about the teams on the outside looking in?

That includes Portland and the Kings. The Blazers (29-37) currently are the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, percentage points ahead of the Kings (28-36).

Sacramento hasn't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. Circumstances be damned, the Kings would love a crack at the postseason.

[RELATED: How NBA's Orlando scenarios impact Kings' playoff hopes]

The Kings are 2-2 against Lillard and the Blazers this season, and last played Portland on March 7 when Bogdan Bogdanovic's 27 points led Sacramento to a 123-111 win on the road.

All remains a mystery right now. The only way Lillard is playing games, however, is if they can compete for a championship. It's easy to see other players around the league sharing his same feelings, too.

Kings' 10 best NBA draft picks since team moved to Sacramento in 1985

Kings' 10 best NBA draft picks since team moved to Sacramento in 1985

Two weeks ago we looked at 10 of the biggest blunders in Sacramento Kings draft history. There were plenty to choose from over the 35 years the team has been in Sacramento, but it hasn’t been all bad for the Kings.

Despite having poor luck in the NBA draft lottery, the Kings have mined for talent and come up huge a few times during their three and half decades in Sacramento.

In no particular order, here is a look at 10 of the biggest draft successes during the Sacramento era of Kings basketball.

VIEW KINGS' BEST DRAFT PICKS HERE

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]