Luke Walton will make his debut as the Los Angeles Lakers coach tonight when they open preseason play at Honda Center against the Sacramento Kings.
The game will also be the first as Lakers for forward Brandon Ingram, who the team chose with the second selection in June’s NBA draft, and Russian center Timofey Mozgov, signed as a free agent in June after playing the past two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The game also begins the Lakers’ post-Kobe Bryant era. Bryant retired at the end of last season, ending an illustrious 20-season NBA career, during which he was the league’s third all-time leading scorer and helped the Lakers win five NBA championships.
Plenty of tickets remain available, on both the upper and lower levels, according to John Black, the Lakers vice president of public relations.
Walton was hired as coach April 29 to succeed Byron Scott, who was fired following the worst two seasons in the team’s 68-season history.
The 36-year-old Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors for two seasons. Walton had a 39-4 record as Golden State’s interim coach to begin the 2015-16 season when Steve Kerr was unable to coach as because of back problems, including a 24-0 start, the best in NBA history.
Walton played for the Lakers from 2003 through 2012 and was a member of their 2009 and 2010 championship teams.
The Lakers eight-game preseason schedule also includes a second game at Honda Center Oct. 21 against the Phoenix Suns and games at Staples Center Friday against the Denver Nuggets and Oct. 11 against the Portland Trail Blazers.