Detroit, MI, United States (4E Sports) – Just 50 games into the season, the Detroit Pistons have fired Maurice Cheeks, with team owner Tom Gores saying that their 21-29 record “does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change.”
“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,” Gores said.
While Gores didn’t put the blame squarely on Cheeks, he emphasized the 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,” Gores added.
The move came despite the Pistons’ back-to-back blowout victories over the Brooklyn Nets and the Denver Nuggets at the Palace. The Pistons are the No. 9 team in the weak Eastern Conference.
“This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we needed to make a change,” Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement. “We have great respect for Maurice and appreciate his hard work.”
Assistant coach John Loyer has been named the interim coach. The Pistons are scheduled to host the San Antonio Spurs Monday night.
No Pistons coach has lasted longer than three seasons since Chuck Daly’s tenure ended in 1992. Flip Saunders spent three years with Detroit before being fired in 2008 while Michael Curry lasted just one season. John Kuester and Lawrence Frank lasted two seasons.
Before taking on the Pistons job, Cheeks spent the previous four seasons as an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder.