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, World

Israel warns of long Gaza war as Palestinian fighters cross border

Israeli soldiers patrol outside the northern Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dashes any hopes of a swift end to the three-week conflict as Palestinian fighters launched an audacious cross-border raid.

in Sports

Only arguing remains in Sterling trail

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, right, during the Los Angeles Clippers' NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. With a $2 billion sale of the Clippers hanging in the balance, a judge is set to determine Monday, June 30, 2014, if the terms of a family trust alone are enough to confirm Donald Sterling was properly removed as trustee and allow his estranged wife to sell the team without his consent.

Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

in Sports

Paul McGinley pulls out of PGA Championship with injury

Paul McGinley of Ireland laughs during a news conference after being named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. REgis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi on January 15, 2013.

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has pulled out of the PGA Championship with a shoulder injury.

in National

Dollar Tree to buy Family Dollar for $8.5 billion

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005, file photo, customers walk past a Family Dollar store at Hickory Grove Market in Charlotte, N.C. Dollar Tree is buying rival discount store Family Dollar in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $8.5 billion, the companies announced Monday, July 28, 2014.

Discount store chain Dollar Tree Inc offered to buy rival Family Dollar Stores Inc for about $8.5 billion.

in Sports

South African Tim Clark wins Canadian Open

Tim Clark tees off the 12th hole during the third round of the RBC Canadian Open at Royal Montreal GC - Blue Course on July 26, 2014.

South African Tim Clark sank a six-foot par putt to beat American Jim Furyk by one stroke at the Canadian Open.