Pistons fire head coach Cheeks after 50 games

The Detroit Pistons announced they have fired coach Maurice Cheeks just 50 gamesinto his tenure.

The news was delivered to Cheeks this morning.

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

The move comes after two of the team's most impressive performances of the season - back-to-back blowoutwinsat the Palace.

Cheeks is 21-29 in his first season with the Pistons after spending the previous four seasons as an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Pistons are the No. 9 team in the weak Eastern Conference, which means they'd miss the playoffs if the postseason started today.

"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.

Since Chuck Daly's tenure ended in 1992, no Pistons coach has lasted longer than three seasons. Flip Saunders spent three years with Detroit before being fired in 2008. Since then, the team has run through Michael Curry (one season), John Kuester (two seasons), Lawrence Frank (two seasons) and now Cheeks coaching just more than half of a season.

Yahoo.comwas first to report the news.

Contact Vince Ellis:vellis@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@vincent_ellis56.


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