Report: Luke Walton’s Alleged Sexual Assault Wasn’t Known to Kings Before Hiring
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 05: Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings reportedly were unaware of the allegations Luke Walton sexually assaulted Los Angeles-based sports reporter Kelli Tennant before they hired him as their head coach. 

Per The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Kings general manager Vlade Divac “had no previous knowledge of the accusations until the report surfaced and that it was too early in this fact-finding process to explore the possibility of terminating Walton’s contract.”    

TMZ reported Monday that Tennant filed a lawsuit against Walton. Tennant said he pinned her to a hotel bed, put “his hips and legs over her body” and forcibly kissed and groped her at a hotel when he was working as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors

Walton’s lawyer, Mark Baute, wrote an email statement to Amick denying the allegations. 

“Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations,” Baute wrote. “The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”

The Kings issued a statement to TMZ: “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.” 

Walton parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers on April 12. The Kings hired him as their new head coach two days later. 

Tennant previously worked for Spectrum SportsNet LA when it was known as Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Walton also served as a part-time television analyst for the station during the 2013-14 NBA season, in addition to being on the Lakers’ G League team’s player development staff. 

Walton worked on Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors from 2014-16 before being hired by the Lakers. 

 

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