News

Pistons fire head coach Maurice Cheeks

Pistons fire head coach Maurice Cheeks

FIRED: Maurice Cheeks looks on against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of a preseason game at Barclays Center. Photo: Reuters/Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – The Detroit Pistons have fired head coach Maurice Cheeks after barely half a season in charge of the National Basketball Association team, the club announced on Sunday.

Cheeks became the first NBA head coach fired this season.

“This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we needed to make a change,” President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars said in a statement.

The Pistons are ninth in the Eastern Conference this season at 21-29, though they have won their past two games.

“Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.

“We have not made the kind of progress that we should have over the first half of the season. This is a young team and we knew there would be growing pains, but we can be patient only as long as there is progress.”

Cheeks, 57, was appointed coach in June on a two-year deal.

An NBA point guard for 15 seasons, primarily with the Philadelphia 76ers where he was part of the 1983 championship-winning team, Cheeks previously served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and 76ers.

“The leadership and player development qualities he brings as a former player and coach blends nicely with the roster we are building for the future,” Dumars said at the time of the hiring.

“He’s won an NBA championship, coached in two NBA Finals as an assistant coach and mentored some of the top young players in the NBA.”

The honeymoon clearly did not last long.

Last Wednesday, Cheeks and point guard Will Bynum had a verbal altercation after the player was substituted for during the second period.

But Cheeks still evidently had some support in the locker room.

“I would like to thanks Mo Cheeks for everything,” Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings tweeted on Sunday.

“Thank you for helping me become a better person & player. I’m still learning.”

Cheeks leaves Detroit with a career record of 305-315 as a head coach.

Assistant John Loyer is expected to take over as interim head coach for Monday’s home game against the powerful San Antonio Spurs.

“The responsibility does not fall squarely on any one individual, but right now this change is a necessary step toward turning this thing around,” owner Gores said.

“I still have a lot of hope for this season and I expect our players to step up.”

(Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)

Recent Headlines

in National

Stronger economy, cheap gas means more people on the road

gasprices

More than 40 million Americans are expected to hit the road for the long holiday weekend.

in Lifestyle, National

5 ways to save money on your summer road trip

roadtrip

While a domestic road trip might appear like an affordable alternative to traveling abroad, costs can easily spiral out of control.

in Sports

U.S. files formal extradition request for 7 FIFA officials

fifa

U.S. officials are looking into alleged bribery worth more than $100 million involving high-ranking officials at soccer's world governing body.

in National

Campaign highlights stress of fireworks on combat veterans

fireworks

For hundreds of thousands of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms can be worsened by the cracks and thunder of celebratory fireworks.

in National

Are airlines colluding to keep fares high?

airlines

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether airlines worked together illegally to keep airfares high by signaling plans to limit flights.