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Pistons fire head coach Maurice Cheeks

Feb 9, 2014, 12:24 PM EDT

Maurice Cheeks, Brandon Jennings AP

The Detroit Pistons have fired head coach Maurice Cheeks just 50 games into his first season as the team’s head coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The timing is a bit curious, considering the Pistons had just won two straight in blowout fashion over the Nets and the Nuggets. But there have been problems brewing for some time.

Despite back-to-back victories on the weekend, general manager Joe Dumars informed Cheeks of his dismissal on Sunday morning, sources said. …

In a season that has fallen short of playoff expectations, Detroit owner Tom Gores has been pushing for changes, league sources said.

Cheeks has struggled to manage a flawed roster in terms of its basic construction, which includes Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith playing alongside two more traditional bigs in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.

The bench depth is virtually nonexistent, yet ownership mandated playoffs with the money spent in free agency and in the East it’s still very possible for the Pistons, so maybe this gives them a little bit of a bump.

Drummond was benched twice in a recent loss, and his teammates were visibly upset by the maneuver when it happened. Cheeks also benched Smith back in December, so it perhaps became clear to ownership that he would not be able to guide this team to the playoffs, despite currently sitting just a half-game back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

An interim coach has yet to be named, and no, it won’t be Rasheed Wallace. Wojnarowski reports that assistant John Loyer is expected to be the front-runner for the job.

“Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores, via official release. “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. The responsibility does not fall squarely on any one individual, but right now this change is a necessary step toward turning this thing around. I still have a lot of hope for this season and I expect our players to step up. I respect and appreciate Maurice Cheeks and thank him for his efforts; we just require a different approach.”

Jennings reacted publicly to the news as soon as it broke, and seemed as surprised as the rest of us.


  1. metrocritical - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    If ownership had been paying attention throughout last season, the team would have already cleaned house and the Piston’s management, coaching staff and roster wouldn’t be so dysfunctional now. Allowing Dumars to sign head coaches and pricey free agents is the same as letting Charlie Brown pick out Christmas trees.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 10, 2014 at 1:39 AM


  2. velocirep - Feb 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Any good coach would love to have the talent cheeks had. Ego is sometimes the best asset a talented players could possess. It’s not easy, but in the NBA, if a star player can’t harness their own ego, it’s the coaches job to try. Otherwise that player tends to blaze a trail. Tough but when you’re paid the big NBA coaching job bucks you gotta put up, or pack it in, and Cheeks is cleaning out his office as we speak. I’m not a big fan of Dumars but one thing he did was get the talent needed to compete and kept the money around the cap, just missing a couple of shooters to space the floor. We could hate but realistically they’re only a couple moves away from competing now, credit to Dumars

  3. provguard - Feb 9, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Cheeks is a pretty decent guy, but I think he is past his time and style…

  4. weaselpuppy - Feb 9, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    Watching the games this year has been cringeworthy. Leaving aside the many many personnel issues, Cheeks deserved to be fired. He is aggravating to watch, as he does not react to changes in momentum, ignores matchups good or bad, doesn’t have any rhyme or reason as to substitutions or lineup/rotations personnel and will not use his timeouts well in the sense again of stopping runs or cooling off other teams. I get letting guys figure it out, but these guys haven’t been figuring anything out. Smith and Jennings take Sooooooo Mannnnyyyy Terrrrrible shots….and starve Monroe and Drummond down low. KCP is a rotten shooter so far, but he’s out there when Singler needs to be in and Singler is out there when KCP needs to be in.

    Hollins would be a godsend. Trading Josh Smith would be a bigger godsend. Jennings is all or nothing…but he’s young and still fixable to some extent. JSmoove is an old dog with no ability to learn new tricks.

    Good move Dumars, burying a turd you never should have picked up in the first place. Seriously though, good managers recognize bad decisions early and work at salvaging them, but when they know it won’t happen how they want or fast enough, they make another decision. Gores knows this and forced Joe’s hand, Dumars so far doesn’t, given he wanted to give Mo mo time.

    Bravo Tom Gores. This team needed someone to get tough and make strong decisions ever since Mr Davidson passed on.

  5. butlers91 - Feb 10, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    It is time to end the Joe Dumars experiment. Great player, terrible GM.

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