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Pistons fire coach Maurice Cheeks

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons
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Jan 24, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at The Palace of Auburn Hills. New Orleans won 103-101. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

The Detroit Pistons have fired coach Maurice Cheeks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Despite back-to-back victories over the weekend, general manager Joe Dumars informed Cheeks of his dismissal on Sunday morning, sources said.

Cheeks didn't make it to the All-Star break of his first season as Detroit's coach. He was in the first year of a two-year contract with the Pistons.

Owner Tom Gores had become increasingly impatient with Cheeks, and sources with knowledge of his plans say that he had been pushing for a change in the coaching staff.

Eight different coaches have been replaced under Dumars' run as GM, but league sources told Yahoo Sports he had been an advocate of giving Cheeks more time as coach – especially in light of back-to-back victories over the weekend.

Pistons assistant John Loyer will be appointed the interim head coach for the rest of the season, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Detroit has no plans to conduct a search for a longer-term replacement until the spring.

Loyer has a strong reputation on both ends of the floor, elevating himself through the NCAA and NBA ranks as an assistant coach over the past two decades.

Loyer had come to the Pistons as part of Lawrence Frank's staff in 2011, and stayed through the coaching change that led to the hiring of Cheeks. Loyer had been an assistant with Frank on the Nets for two seasons. Before the Nets, Loyer had been on Cheeks' staffs with Portland and Philadelphia. Loyer spent nine years on Bob Huggins' staff at the University of Cincinnati.

Detroit has a significant nucleus of talent, and still has a chance to make a move in the Eastern Conference playoff race. After consecutive victories over Brooklyn and Denver on Friday and Saturday, the Pistons trail Charlotte by a half-game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

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