Steve Kerr groomed Luke Walton to be a head coach.
So, the news that Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers mutually agreed to part ways after three seasons hit close to home for the Golden State Warriors head coach.
"Disappointed for Luke," Kerr told reporters after Warriors practice Friday in Oakland. "In this job, as a coach in the NBA, you are 100 percent dependent on your circumstances, the strength of your organization, the momentum, the unity, everything has to be in good order because if it's not, as we've witnessed with the Lakers, then there's going to be casualties, and usually, the coach is the first one."
Walton had a 98-148 record in his Lakers tenure. This season was supposed to be different with the arrival of LeBron James, but injuries and trade rumors derailed it. The Walton move comes on the heels of Magic Johnson shockingly stepping down as Lakers president of basketball operations earlier this week.
Instead of competing with the Warriors for the Western Conference crown, the Lakers will watch the playoffs from home.
Before taking the Lakers job in 2016, Walton spent two seasons as one of Kerr's assistant coaches, and led the Warriors to a 39-4 record while Kerr dealt with side effects from offseason back surgery.
"They are losing one of the best human beings in the NBA," Kerr said. "They're losing a guy that knows the NBA as well as anybody I've ever met. They're losing somebody who the players believe in, players want to play for. But again, he was dependent on circumstances, just like all of us are, and I feel for Luke and I feel fortunate to have a set of circumstances here where we've got wonderful people stabilizing our organization every day, and I'm lucky to be in this position to be surrounded by those people because it doesn't happen often in the NBA."
So, now that Walton isn't tied to the Lakers, might he come hang around the Warriors’ facility during their playoff run? Don't bet on it.
"This has been such a crazy ride for Luke," Kerr said. "He needs to get away and be with his family and get a vacation and sort through what he's going to do next."
Speaking of "next," a source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham that the Sacramento Kings have interest in meeting with Walton about their vacant head-coaching job.
So, Walton could be headed back to Northern California. Just not to the Warriors.