Former Arizona Wildcats standout and current Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton has “no interest” in becoming the new head coach at his alma mater, he said Wednesday according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area/California.
“I love Arizona and I think Sean Miller did an amazing job there in his time. I have a job. I have a job I love. I have a group I love working with. I’m very committed to being here in Sacramento,” Walton said.
"No interest. I love Arizona and I think Sean Miller did an amazing job there in his time. I have a job. I have a job I love. I have a group I love working with. I'm very committed to being here in Sacramento." -Luke Walton on Arizona job— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) April 7, 2021
Walton makes sense as a candidate because of his NBA head coaching experience—he was also the head coach of the Lakers before—and playing career at Arizona, but the UA job would also represent a pay cut plus increased responsibility because of the year-long recruiting calendar among other things.
Walton actually coached in college during the 2011 NBA lockout when he was an assistant under Josh Pastner at Memphis. It made him realize that he’d prefer coaching in the NBA.
“I knew I wanted to find something I could be passionate about when I was playing basketball. I didn’t know if that was coaching or if it was coaching in the NBA, coaching college. The time I spent here (in Memphis) and the time I was allowed to be with the players I really enjoyed,” Walton said, via the LA Times. “But because of the other stuff, it was also nice to realize the NBA was probably the way I wanted to go instead of college.”
Fellow UA alum Steve Kerr has had a similar stance.
“There’s a reason I coach in the NBA,” Kerr said in 2017 after Arizona was embroiled in the FBI investigation. “I never wanted to be a college coach. I don’t immerse myself in that stuff. The NBA is very pure. We don’t want to make apologies or concessions about what we’re doing. We’re just playing basketball. It’s a business. And the NCAA obviously has lots of things to figure out on many levels who they are and what they’re doing.”