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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. iamthot - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Jennings you’re part of the problem!! You bum!

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      Wait, what ?

    • chicagosports2014 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:16 AM

      Bulls will pick up Moe Cheeks.

  2. pfic15 - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    If I’m Maurice I’m THANKFUL. What a crappy roster to work with….

  3. dvic13 - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Joe Dumars must be one helluva “pillar of the community” to still hold his job.

    • patsfan92 - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      i would have fired him after he traded the key of the franchise for iverson

  4. cantonbound13 - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Please hire Isiah Thomas, I’m sick of him being in contact with the Knick organization.

  5. rajbais - Feb 9, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    And the GM who’s been bad ever since he traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson gets to stay???

    What a disgrace!!!

    I wish I could get 1025 chances to strike out of one at-bat like Dumars.

    • kindasporty - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      “And the GM who’s been bad ever since he traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson gets to stay???”

      No, the GM who’s been bad ever since he traded Chauncey Billups and Aaron Afflalo for Allen Iverson gets to stay.

  6. greej1938l - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Jennings is a bum!!

  7. dannymac17 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    how Joe Dumars still has a job is beyond me. I literally thought he was fired years ago.

  8. psubeerman21 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    The timing isn’t “curious”. This is what bad organizations do. They overpayed Smith, put him in a position he can’t play, and now they may have to trade Monroe, a young big man with a good offensive skill set. This team is a disaster, and no coach could get any more out of it than Cheeks did. And BTW, is the organizational goal to get the 7th seed and get pounded by Miami or Indiana? Good job.

  9. adoombray - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Dumars has to know the writing is on the wall and this is his last ditch effort to not follow Cheeks out the door at the end of the season.

    Mark it, Dumars is done and he knows it and is burning the house down trying to save it

  10. kitch10 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    If the Pistons are serious about righting the coaching situation, they will give Lionel Hollins a call. He has a demonstrated record of getting a team to play tough defense, and developing players to get the most out of their talents, e.g. big man Gasol (ref Drummond); offensive-minded power forward that plays under the rim Randolph (ref Monroe); excellent assist PG Conley (good luck with Jennings, better bet would be to acquire someone like Augustine of Chicago). And he would not shy away from confronting highly paid players when they screw up Randolph (ref Smith).

  11. chiadam - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    What the f*** is Dumars doing? Either he’s slowly become the worst GM in the NBA, or the new owner is determined to be the Jerry Jones of the NBA and forced Dumars’ hand. Since Dumars has gone through eight coaches on fourteen seasons, it might be both.

    • stayhigh_247 - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:17 PM


  12. chichi78 - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Like other posters have said, no coach could manage a roster so horribly constructed. Hell, Popovich would even struggle.

    That said, Cheeks gave Jennings and Josh Smith way too much leeway to do whet the hell they wanted, while having guys like Drummond, Monroe, and Caldwell Pope on a short leash.

    On that note, Dumars has to go. This team is still not that far off from being a real contender (maybe a couple trades away). Dumars has and will always struggle to trade his guys (or trade mistake signings, which would be an acknowledgment of bad decisions). Also, for all the coaches he fired over the last few years, what respectable coach would want to go to Detroit?

  13. marc0626 - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    FIRE JOE DUMARS -.-!!!!!

  14. jadaruler - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Joe know he will be next. Its a shame he never gave Bill Laimbeer a shot to be head coach. I think he could’ve been great at it.

    I think the Pistons would be better if they trade Monroe for a 3 and move Smith to the 4 where he belongs.

  15. pistolpete0903 - Feb 9, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    If Sheed becomes the coach, the Pistons would be a heck of entertainment show (off the court).
    On a serious note, Cheeks is a nice guy, but he ain’t a good head coach.
    A tough minded coach would be good for the Pistons (they need to unload either Jennings or Josh Smith). Maybe the Pistons should look in the college ranks and see if they can find someone.

    • chiadam - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Which still does not reflect well on Dumars. He either fired a good coach too quickly or he hired the wrong coach to begin with, which seems to be the only thing he knows how to do.

  16. dinofrank60 - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    There has to be some way to get rid of deadwood or misfits on a roster without being penalized. Paying them is punishment enough, but making the only way for change is to fire the coach or GM as an strategy? Why should fans be stuck with rooting for such an operation?

  17. buffalowned - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Can Dumars fire himself for assembling a roster of square pegs and asking a coach to put them in round holes?

  18. SuckForLuck - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    How does the guy that drafted Darko over Wade, Bosh & Mello still have a job as an NBA GM?

  19. tmatic74 - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM


  20. velocirep - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Hard lesson learned. Can’t be benching the stars on the team, especially when you’re not winning like you should. Hopefully one day they’ll give dignity back to the coaches, but until then, it’s a star players world and the coach has to learn how to earn it from star players. Mo cheeks is a good guy, he’ll get another gig

  21. patsfan92 - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Stephen A smith is gonna blow a gasket

  22. Kevin S. - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Six coaches in eight and a half seasons since Larry Brown skipped out. Why does Joe Dumars still have a job?

  23. velocirep - Feb 9, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Unconventional rosters have been great teams historically. Miami had no decent centre and won 2 championships in a row. And they really aren’t that unconventional anyway. Just get a few spot up shooters and they’re your conventional guards, forwards, centre team. They just need a personality in there with vision and clout to get the truckload of talent in there to buy into a clear identity. There’s nothing wrong with the guys they got. If Pop or Doc or Philjax were given the task they’d be a lot farther ahead because those coaches have the ability to reign in the star ego.(unlike say mike brown) Mo cheeks hasn’t learned that well enough yet. Hopefully he’ll get another chance.

    • dinofrank60 - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Yeah, but Pop, Doc and PJ have the cache to have control that Mo didn’t have. Mo has been around the egos of the NBA for 30 years, but if you’re saddled with players you don’t want or need and don’t get the support you need or want, what can you do?

  24. coachjac30 - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Unfortunately, this was Cheeks’ last chance at a head coaching gig. He should have known it wasn’t going to work with the team as is.

    I see people here saying they need to bring in a disciplinarian, but isn’t that what got him in a bit of trouble, benching Smith and Drummond. Unless this team wins the championship, Dumars will be gone at the end of the season. It will be interesting to see who they bring in next season, and what moves they make this season.

    I think everyones favorite Cheeks memory is when he helped that little girl sing the National Anthem back in Portland like 10 years ago.

  25. kb2408 - Feb 9, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    So, Cheeks gets fired while on a two gm winning streak. That is akin to Craig getting fired on his day off in the “Friday” movie. The Pistons are a joke…Joe D should be gone too. Bring in an established coach and this team could make the playoffs and maybe get to the 2nd round.

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