According to a multitude of sources (I heard it from a friend, then saw Wojnarowski’s report on Twitter), Mo Cheeks has been let go as the Pistons head coach. The Pistons sit half a game back of the Charlotte Bobcats for the 8th seed in the East, well below the expectations set forth by the weight of $80 million dollars in free agency signings and of owner Tom Gores. Assistant coach John Loyer will serve as the interim head coach. Reports are that Loyer will fill that role for the rest of the season, but don’t be surprised to see the Pistons go after Lionel Hollins, according to Vincent Goodwill. Loyer has always been a bridesmaid, but never a bride. He’s been an assistant his whole career across multiple college and pro stops. He came to the Pistons when Lawrence Frank was hired and has a reputation as a defensive-minded coach.
The decision is said to have been made by Tom Gores, and not Joe Dumars; probably not a good sign for Joe D. Pistons players, including Brandon Jennings and Charlie Villaneuva (still here!), took to Twitter to express both their shock and disappointment over the firing. It never looks good when these things come out before the players know, let’s hope that it doesn’t cast a shadow over the start of Loyer’s tenure.
Looking forward and reading into things, this may provide some hope that the Pistons won’t just stand pat at the trade deadline. With $16 million dollars in expiring contracts, the Pistons could use those contracts to facilitate a deal for a supporting player, or to acquire a draft pick in this year’s loaded class. Gores clearly wants the wheels in motion, so keep an eye out over the next few weeks to see what happens. Follow along with the website and on twitter, @kevinatlod.