The Cleveland Cavaliers are hiring Luke Walton as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Walton joins JB Bickerstaff's coaching staff after spending five-plus years as head coach of the Lakers and Kings. Walton spent his final two seasons as a player with Cleveland a decade ago.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 31, 2022
As noted in the report, Walton played two seasons with the Cavaliers before retiring as a player in 2013. He spent nine seasons with the Lakers before that. As a coach, he was a on Steve Kerr’s staff with the Golden State Warriors (and filled in for Kerr during the 2015-16 season) and then was a head coach with the Lakers from 2016 until 2019 and then with the Kings from 2019 until 2021. He was fired partway into last season by the Kings. As a player, he won two titles.
Walton, 42, joins J.J. Outlaw, Greg Buckner, Sidney Lowe, Antonio Lang, Mike Gerrity and Nate Reinking on J.B. Bickerstaff’s staff. Considering his background, he figures to offer input into Cleveland’s offense and provide another experienced voice in the room.
That said, the hope has to be that Walton’s experience with the Warriors during the first part of their run offers more of what he can provide to Cleveland than his head coaching stints. As a head coach, he has a career record of 166-241. He five seasons he finished in full, his teams finished 27th, 21st, 22nd, 21st and 24th in net rating. When the Kings fired him last year, they were 23rd in net rating with the league’s 16th-ranked offense and 26th-ranked defense.
In 2019, was accused of sexual assault by former Spectrum SportsNet host Kelli Tennant. Walton denied the claims with the Kings (this then employer) and the NBA launching a joint investigation into the accusations. Tennant did not participate in the investigation, which determined that there was “not a sufficient basis to support” the accusations.
In December of last year, a lawsuit Tennant had filed against Walton was dropped at her request.