Kings head coach Luke Walton is accused of sexually assaulting former Spectrum SportsNet host Kelli Tennant, as first reported by TMZ. According to the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli, the lawsuit Tennant filed specifically mentions the assault occurred while Walton was a Golden State Warriors assistant coach. Sacramento confirmed it is "aware of the report" but declined to comment, per Ganguli.
Tennant claimed Walton met her in a Santa Monica hotel room and "forced himself on her." Tennant reportedly "had a business relationship that went back several years [with Walton] and she wanted him to write a foreword." Walton authored the foreword to a book Tennant published in 2014.
Walton's attorney Mark Baute released a statement on Tennant's accusation on Tuesday.
“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom," Baute told The Athletic's Sam Amick.
Sacramento hired Walton on April 13 to replace former head coach Dave Joerger. He parted ways with the Lakers on April 10 after going 98–148 in three seasons. The Kings are currently, "working with the NBA to find the truth regarding the sexual assault allegations levied against [Walton]," per Amick, who added Walton's job is "safe – for now."
"We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information," the Kings said in a statement, according to NBC Sports' Kurt Helin. "We have no further comment at this time,
The Lakers released a statement regarding Walton on Monday night.
“This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers," the Lakers statement read. "At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA. Since Luke Walton is now under contract to another team, we will have no further comment.”
Walton served as an assistant head coach with the Warriors from 2014-16. He led Golden State to a 39–4 start in 2015-16 as an interim head coach as Steve Kerr recovered from offseason back surgery.
The Warriors also issued a statement on Monday, per Ganguli.
"We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information," Golden State wrote. "We’ll have no further comment at this time."