Cheeks became the first NBA head coach fired this season.
"This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we
needed to make a change," President of Basketball Operations Joe
Dumars said in a statement.
The Pistons are ninth in the Eastern Conference this season at
21-29, though they have won their past two games.
"Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a
change," said Pistons owner Tom Gores.
"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
Cheeks, 57, was appointed coach in June on a two-year deal.
An NBA point guard for 15 seasons, primarily with the Philadelphia
76ers where he was part of the 1983 championship-winning team,
Cheeks previously served as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers
"The leadership and player development qualities he brings as a
former player and coach blends nicely with the roster we are
building for the future," Dumars said at the time of the hiring.
"He's won an NBA championship, coached in two NBA Finals as an
assistant coach and mentored some of the top young players in the
[to top of second column]
The honeymoon clearly did not last long.
Last Wednesday, Cheeks and point guard Will Bynum had a verbal
altercation after the player was substituted for during the second
But Cheeks still evidently had some support in the locker room.
"I would like to thanks Mo Cheeks for everything," Pistons point
guard Brandon Jennings tweeted on Sunday.
"Thank you for helping me become a better person & player. I'm still
Cheeks leaves Detroit with a career record of 305-315 as a head
Assistant John Loyer is expected to take over as interim head coach
for Monday's home game against the powerful San Antonio Spurs.
"The responsibility does not fall squarely on any one individual,
but right now this change is a necessary step toward turning this
thing around," owner Gores said.
"I still have a lot of hope for this season and I expect our players
to step up."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina;
editing by Larry
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.