Mo Cheeks is out as Pistons head coach.
Cheeks was fired Sunday by the Pistons after a 21-29 start. Yahoo! Sports first reported the firing.
“Our record does not reflect our talent and we simply need a change,” Pistons owner Tom 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. 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 Pistons hoped a busy offseason, which saw them sign free agent Josh Smith and trade for Brandon Jennings, would put them closer to contending in the Eastern Conference, but entering Sunday night Detroit was a half game out of the playoffs.
Detroit is coming off two straight wins Friday and Saturday, but it was too little, too late for Cheeks, who was hired in June and didn't even make it to the All-Star break.
Cheeks is the eighth coach fired during Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars 14 years as general manager.
George Irvine (2000-2001), Rick Carlisle (2001-03), Larry Brown (2003-05), Flip Saunders (2005-08), Michael Curry (2008-09), John Kuester (2009-11), Lawrence Frank (2011-13) and now Cheeks have all come and gone during Dumars' tenure.
“This was a difficult decision for the organization to make but we needed to make a change,” Dumars said in a statement. “We have great respect for Maurice and appreciate his hard work.”
Assistant coach John Loyer will be the Pistons' interim head coach.
Before the season Gores said he expected the Pistons to make the playoffs and in a weak Eastern Conference Detroit has struggled to play with any consistency.
Cheeks has clashed and had misunderstandings with several players.
Most recently, Cheeks had a heated exchanged with backup point guard Will Bynum on the sideline during Wednesday's game at Orlando, which the Pistons lost 112-98.
Cheeks didn't play Bynum in the Pistons following two games.
Earlier this season, Cheeks removed Josh Smith from the starting lineup for missing a practice he called on the plane ride home from Atlanta. Smith was not on the flight and said he stayed in Atlanta to be with his sick father.
The practice Smith missed was also on the day after a back-to-back, which NBA teams typically never practice on.
There were questions about chemistry when the Pistons signed Smith and how he would play alongside young big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The questions still remain as the trio has struggled to find chemistry.
The Pistons will try to move on from the Cheeks' firing when they host San Antonio on Monday. Detroit hosts Cleveland Wednesday in its final game before the All-Star break.