Detroit Pistons fire head coach Maurice Cheeks just fifty games into his first season

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Detroit Pistons have fired head coach Maurice Cheeks.

Hired in June, Cheeks led the team to a record of only 21-29 so far this season.

Despite adding Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, and receiving word from Tom Gores that the expectation was to make the playoffs, the team has underwhelmed.

"Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change," Gores said in a statement.

"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."

It's not even the All Star break, and Cheeks is now the eighth coach to leave the Pistons in the past 14 seasons.

General Manager Joe Dumars was rumored to be on the hot seat heading into the weekend, and now faces the task of hiring his sixth head coach since Larry Brown departed.

"This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we needed to make a change," Dumars said.  "We have great respect for Maurice and appreciate his hard work."

Once the news broke, players reacted on Twitter. Charlie Villanueva asked if the firing was real, and Brandon Jennings was shocked.

32 games remain in the Pistons season, with their next game scheduled for Monday night at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

"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.



Prior to joing the Pistons, Cheeks spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who reached the NBA Finals in 2012.


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