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Did Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups get Maurice Cheeks fired?

Feb 23, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

NBA writer/rumormonger Peter Vecsey – currently involved in a public dispute with Kevin Love and Flip Saunders – has a new report about the Pistons. Like everything from Vecsey, it might be true and might not. It’s difficult to discern. But he’s prominent enough – he won the Basketball Hall of Fame’s media award in 2009 – that you must at least acknowledge what he reports.

There’s a Latin phrase “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” which means “after this, therefore because of this.” It acknowledges the fallacy that an event following another event was caused by the first event.

Let’s say Smith and Billups went to Dumars to complain about Cheeks. First of all, I don’t believe it’s uncommon for players to go to their general to complain about the coach. Disagreements arise, and part of the general manager’s job is to resolve those.

Even if Dumars is too quick to side with his players and dismiss the coach, as his frequent firings suggest, that doesn’t mean he did so here. As Adrian Wojnarowski, who has established a much higher degree of reliability, reported:

Eight different coaches have been replaced under Dumars’ run as GM, but league sources told Yahoo Sports he had been an advocate of giving Cheeks more time as coach

So, just because Smith and Billups told Dumars they wanted Cheeks fired – which isn’t unreasonable, considering how Cheeks repeatedly sent his players into games at a disadvantage due to his ineptitude – that doesn’t mean Smith and Billups caused Cheeks’ firing. Every other report indicated this decision was driven by Pistons owner Tom Gores, not Dumars.

Maybe Gores became aware of a Smith-Billups-Dumars meeting and then became motivated to fire Cheeks because of it? That’s the type of nuance Vecsey’s tweet doesn’t cover. It’s not clear where Vecsey’s reporting ends and his speculation begins. Is he reporting facts and then using the word “doom” himself, or did the source say “doom”? The former might be a mistake on Vecsey’s part, and the latter requires great explanation from Vecsey.

And that’s if this source is credible in the first place.

This is a plausible explanation of Cheeks’ firing, but the gaps in the story are wide.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Basing such a decision on anything an over-the-hill Billups and an under-performing Smith have to say would not be very wise.

  2. thomaskouns - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    If you’ve hired and fired 8 coaches the problem is the person hiring the coaches – Dumars.

    That means he made 8 bad coaching hires in a row as General Manager.

    The reality is that probably most of those coaches were ‘adequate’ but the NBA is a ‘talent’ league and the coach often pays for the sins of the GM who’s picking, signing and drafting the roster.

    • adoombray - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      its such a crazy number too. 8 coaches? wow… most GM’s are lucky to get 2, maybe 3 before ownership tosses them too

  3. fnc111 - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    Joe Dumbars has no boss. The owner lives in Los Angeles. While the cats away the mice will play.

  4. indrathegod - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    A little over a month ago I commented that Cheeks would be gone by the end of this season or next at the latest. Looks like Detroit is right on schedule. Now if only Dumars could find someone he can truly ride it out with….

  5. bruiserbrigade - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Moe Cheeks, Mo’ Problems.

  6. smarshall3789 - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Who cares this team has no fans the stadium is always 3/4 empty they should move! Plus they don’t even play on Detroit they play a hour north in the hill full of white rich people!

  7. jimsjam33 - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Billups is a cancer . He stole his last two contracts and has done absolutely zero to help the Clippers or Pistons .

  8. stayhigh_247 - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Most of these so called “journalists” suck anyway, a bunch of hacks just tryna make a name for themselves or stay relevant. And because of that, the truth takes a backseat to something with more buzz.

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