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Luke Walton let go by Lakers, already linked to Kings opening

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luke-walton-los-angeles-lakers-arizona-wildcats-coaching-fired-nba-kings-kerr Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The inevitable has finally become the actual for Luke Walton.

The former Arizona Wildcats standout saw this three-year tenure as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers come to an end on Friday, with the team releasing a statement that the parties “mutually agreed to part ways.”

Walton, 39, went 98-148 in his three years with the Lakers, one of the worst stretches in franchise history, and the arrival of LeBron James this past season only resulted in a two-win improvement from 2017-18.

His departure comes three days after the shocking resignation of Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations. In his impromptu press conference Tuesday to announce his departure, Johnson indicated he had planned to fire Walton immediately after the season.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, another ex-Arizona star, didn’t mince words with his reaction to the firing of his former assistant from 2014-16:

Walton’s parting comes as no surprise, nor does the fact he’s already getting linked to other NBA coaching openings:

Walton has also had his named linked to the still-not-open-and-probably-won’t-be-for-a-while job at his alma mater. He played at Arizona from 1999-2003, averaging 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 129 games.