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Andre Drummond and Tom Gores spoke regularly leading up to Maurice Cheeks’ firing

I don’t think Maurice Cheeks’ undoing with the Pistons was benching Andre Drummond just 11 seconds into the second half of a loss to the Mavericks, but it probably didn’t help his case.

Dave Mayo of MLive:

One player later said the problem was that Drummond did exactly what he thought he was supposed to do and Cheeks didn’t understand that it was a product of miscommunication, not defiance.

Drummond and Gores communicate every couple of weeks about things, the player said, and seeing the franchise player unhappy probably didn’t go over well with the owner. Within a couple of days, Gores was in southeast Michigan, and the process of dismissal began to take shape.

You can read my thoughts on Gores and Drummond at ProBasketballTalk.

Mayo also added:

He commonly didn’t know at his press briefing, less than two hours before a game, who the Pistons’ inactive players would be.

If that surprises you, you weren’t paying attention.

31 Comments

  • Feb 10, 20149:27 am
    by Windy

    Reply

    The whole Cheeks hiring makes no sense in the first place…everything everyone said about him was true, he was not overly prepared, doesn’t know the x and o’s of the game all that well etc…
    It doesn’t surprise me that he is gone it surprises me he even got picked to begin with…
    What is sad is that because of that dumb move were probablly going to lose our pick AND miss the playoffs which is a total disaster…hopefully Loyer can save this team and get them refocused because Cheeks was a mess from day one and we all knew it but someone how Phil Jackson, Joe Dumars and Gores missed the boat…

  • Feb 10, 201410:12 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    The mental lapses that routinely happened during games, is the Cheeks’ fault?  He might share part of the blame, but it surprises me that this is all thrown on his shoulders.  
     
    The players at some point need to be held accountable for losing interest in the game, playing soft on defense, and taking bad shots.  Was it Mo Cheeks’ fault when his players in-bounded the ball at full court with time running out instead of calling a time out to advance it to half court?  Cheeks was seen screaming time out from the sideline…
     
    Certainly Cheeks wasn’t a flawless coach, but he had a better rotation than the three previous coaches, called time outs at more appropriate times, and seemed to care more about winning than a lot of the players on this team.  Beyond that, you’d have to know what’s going on at practice and in the huddles to come to a conclusion this is Cheeks’ fault.  

    • Feb 10, 201410:19 am
      by Vic

      Reply

      if the players don’t respect the decision maker, then he’s not the decision maker

    • Feb 10, 201411:48 am
      by oats

      Reply

      Cheeks had been relying on the 3 big lineup that stinks, refused to let Monroe and Drummond play without Smith on the court, and he’s been jerking around minutes for guys about as much as Kuester or Frank did despite working with more talent. I think his rotations are at least as bad as his predecessors.

  • Feb 10, 201410:16 am
    by DasMark

    Reply

    If Drummond directly led to Cheeks swift dismissal, it’s even more reason to love the kid! 

  • Feb 10, 201410:19 am
    by Oracle

    Reply

    Any coach who doesn’t think you should take or defend corner threes deserves to not be coaching.  Also, I’m glad to hear that Gores is regularly communicating with his star player, and takes steps to ensure he’s happy.  Drummond could be a piston for life.

  • Feb 10, 201410:31 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    I don’t like the assumption….i think Gore is a busy man who has learned to cut his losses….whether we get Hollins or not Cheeks had to go…
    Now I will say if we march the same line up out there…..and the rotation is still weak…. then it might be more than Cheek

  • Feb 10, 201410:33 am
    by Ryank

    Reply

    They make such a big deal about the number of coaches in Dumars’ time as GM.  Take a look who hired and who fired these coaches and it’s not so bad:
    Rick Carlisle – Dumars hire, Davidson fire
    Larry Brown – Davidson hire, Davidson fire
    Flip Saunders – Dumars hire, Dumars fire
    Mike Curry – Dumars hire, Dumars fire
    Kuester – Karen Davidson hire (get someone cheap), Gores fire
    Larry Frank – Gores hire, Gores fire
    Mo Cheeks – Dumars hire, Gores fire
     
    Of course this is all based on the same information all of us have…what the press speculated about, what they said happened.  Perhaps the facts are different, but this is what was presented to us.
     
    So Dumars hired 4 coaches in 14 years.  I’m not sure how that compares to other teams, but it doesn’t look as bad as it’s made out to be…certainly not 9 coaches in 14 years.
     

    • Feb 10, 201411:08 am
      by JYD for Life

      Reply

      Totally agree with you Ryan.  That being said, Curry and Cheeks were poor decisions given the direction Joe took the team in after hiring them.  Changed their job descriptions completely.    
       
      Carlisle would still be here had he not yelled at Mr. D’s wife…and if he wasn’t a dick to everyone he came across within the organization (Camps/Clinics, Fans, etc).  He didn’t stand a chance in a place like the Palace that had a family-run type feel.  
       
       

    • Feb 10, 201411:53 am
      by oats

      Reply

      Kuester may have been cheap, but he was definitely a guy Dumars liked a lot. I don’t know if Frank was his first choice, but Dumars still reportedly had Frank in his top 2. These guys shouldn’t have been on the short list, and by all accounts Dumars played a role in putting them there.

  • Feb 10, 201410:51 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    I actually believe Gore hired Cheeks….

    • Feb 10, 201411:10 am
      by Ryank

      Reply

      I’m going off of what the media presented to us.  They said Cheeks was Dumars’ guy.  They also reported Mike Woodson was the guy Dumars wanted, but Gores overruled and hired Frank.  
       
      Does anyone believe Dumars wanted Kuester?  A GM who’s job is to manage the team to success would want a guy who has no head coaching experience?  If it was his choice, he would have paid up for an experience head coach to get results…unless he was trying to tank.  It’s very believable Dumars was told to get a guy who’ll work for cheap.  That’s what the media told us.
       
      The firing of Carlisle was well documented as Davidson’s.  Then there were interviews of Davidson about the firing of Larry Brown and how he wasn’t going to have someone who’s “not a good person” work for him.  
       
      Dumars has made some bad decisions over the years, but if you’re going to hold him accountable for decisions made by his boss (Mr. D, Mrs. D., Mr. G), you’re not being fair in your evaluation.

      • Feb 10, 201411:57 am
        by oats

        Reply

        I actually do believe he wanted Kuester. The veteran guys were reported to want a say in personnel decisions, and Dumars wasn’t likely to have wanted to give that up. Kuester was a long time Pistons assistant that Dumars had said he thought would make a good coach. He might have been asked to go cheap, but every account says Dumars really liked Kuester.

  • Feb 10, 201411:02 am
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    I have to call BS on this, regardless of the validity of the headline.  

    If you want to run a guy out of town, you’re doing a great job of starting the process early.  
     
    While this is the type of “juicy” story everyone wants to hear, it makes no sense to release this information to the public.  It’s only going to put added pressure on Drummond and if you look at Carmelo in NY and LeBron in Cleveland, players don’t want to be known as coach killers (unless you’re a clown like Stuckey, Rip, T-Mac or Bynum).  
     
    Everyone kills the Freep and Det News for not writing about anything exciting, but this is the type of garbage that does no good whatsoever.  How is this relevant?  Everyone could see Drummond and most players were frustrated with Cheeks.  Why put a spotlight on it? 
     
    If it’s some backhanded way of telling people that Dumars allowed this to happen, you’re wrong.  This is only going to create a culture like Dan Gilbert and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.  You think we’re a mess, look at those guys.  

    • Feb 10, 201411:15 am
      by JYD for Life

      Reply

      If David Mayo wants to establish credibility, then he needs to put a name on whoever leaked this…seriously.  He’s drafting his own conclusions and trying to “keep it real.”  
      Garbage.  Even if the patients are running the asylum, you don’t make it public knowledge.  Gores was probably better served hiding in Cali.   

    • Feb 10, 201412:02 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      It supposedly came from a player, so not making sense to leak it is irrelevant. Also, coach killers are generally guys that actively rebel against a coach instead of admitting that he didn’t understand why he got benched. Most importantly, who is going to blame someone for getting Cheeks fired? Cheeks has been terrible and the firing is fully justified even without this.

      • Feb 10, 201412:17 pm
        by JYD for Life

        Reply

        Oats, that’s the point…he was terrible and should have been fired, so why even bring this up?  
        This article does more than say that Drummond only questioned why he got benched.  The date, the statement that they talk frequently all indicate that Drummond was some type of mole for Gores.  
         
        That’s either going to do one of two things – annoy Drummond if he’s questioned about this further or create a toxic environment where the owner is best buds with the franchise guy and Drummond eventually gets to call the shots.  
         
        You’re going to see all of this stuff start to come out in the next year or so…and for what?  Mayo quoting a guy who ran his mouth, but didn’t put a name on it?  
         
        Stephen A. Smith can do that sort of thing, but a guy at M-Live or writing a blog doesn’t have that sort of clout.  
         
         

        • Feb 10, 201412:23 pm
          by JYD for Life

          Reply

          and it’s not to say they won’t get there, so that statement wasn’t a slight – these guys do a great job for the most part and obviously work pretty hard at it – but you can’t do that without thinking about the ramifications of what you write.  
           
          A Public Relations department does control some of what the media reports (see the statements yesterday) and it’s because they have a “relationship” with the reporters and their respective organizations.  That wasn’t the case here.    

  • Feb 10, 201411:03 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    Dumars catches he’ll for things that didn’t work out…..Ben Gordon was an up and coming SG in this league 20ppg scorer only 24-25…. charlie had put together some nice back to back seasons as a stretch 4…as tho we were gonna land wade, Melo, LeBron or Bosh
    He gets Jennings who is a Huge upgrade over Knight at the PG position.. btw: anyone remember the way Knight would run a fast break? Or the way the always tried to split traps? Or that he could make the simple passes?
    Josh Smith was the top FA available. , Howard was going to the Rockets and Chris Paul was staying LA…. iguodala had no intention on being a piston….so we upgrade in talent..
    But the coach chose by the owner can’t make it work….Dumars should be held accountable, but in all reality some of the decision you can’t blame him for making

    • Feb 10, 201412:31 pm
      by oats

      Reply

      First of all, it’s funny that your defense is that the team wouldn’t get Wade, Melo, James, or Bosh when 3 of those guys are players Dumars passed on in the draft. I actually don’t mind the Darko pick because most of the league screws that up in his shoes, but I do find it funny that your defense of Dumars so strongly hints at what is widely considered his single worst move.
       
      Ok, let’s actually look at those decisions. Jennings is a much better PG, but I’m not certain it’s a big improvement over Knight talent wise. He’s a terrible shooter and defender while Knight is at least average at both. Jennings is a very low end starting PG while Knight is a pretty good 6th man, and those things have pretty similar values. Jennings is the better player, but Middleton has been good enough that he might make up that difference. Heck, if this keeps up it might be Middleton who ends up being the best player involved in that trade. It was a defensible move at the time and I even supported it, but I still suspect the deal would have worked with Singler heading out in Middleton’s place and I would have really preferred that.
       
      Ben Gordon was signed right after Rip had gotten an extension and Prince was also on the team. That’s a lot of money to dedicate to the wing spots. Rip couldn’t just move to the 3 without moving Prince, and Rip was terrible at guarding SFs. So to play those together Prince would have been moved to the 4 where he was awful defensively, and on top of that Gordon was a terrible defender. That lineup clearly wouldn’t work. I guess they also could have played Gordon at the point which would have been even worse. So they were giving him a lot of money to be a 3rd guard and clutter up their lineup. The team already had Afflalo on the roster to be that 3rd guard. I won’t pretend like he was great in Detroit, but Afflalo did look ready to be that 3rd guard as long as the role remained relatively small. He had decent per minute numbers, shot the ball really well, and played good defense. I’d say that’s enough that the team should have looked to spend that money elsewhere.
       
      CV was a backup PF that Dumars paid to be a starter despite the fact that his team the year before wanted nothing to do with him. Milwaukee could have offered him a qualifying offer that would have given them the rights to match his deal. Even if they didn’t want to keep him they could have given him that offer to try to negotiate a sign and trade. They didn’t do that because they were afraid it would scare teams off and they would get saddled with him for another year. If that wasn’t a warning sign then I don’t know what was.
       
      Smith is an upgrade in talent, but it was absurdly obvious that the fit wasn’t good.

      • Feb 10, 201412:53 pm
        by JYD for Life

        Reply

        Totally agree with you about Gordon/CV…
        If mediocre or really bad teams (Toronto/Milwaukee/Chicago at the time) didn’t show any interest whatsoever in keeping those guys, that has to mean something.  Signing those guys is also something I never understood.  With Afflalo being one of my favorite Pistons (dude would practice at all hours of the day), it perplexed me even more  because rumors at the time had Ben Gordon pegged as somewhat of a problem guy in Chicago.      
         
        Again, I’ll say that I have been one of the biggest supporters of Dumars, but this is where things get fuzzy.  It’s widely said he didn’t have a plan, but he did…to go with shooters who could outscore opponents.  That was just a really horrible plan.  I’m sure Gordon or Rip or maybe CV would have been moved sooner, but that was when the handcuffs went on and he couldn’t move guys because of the impending sale of the team.  He did everything he could to sweep those bad moves under the rug when Gores came in.    
         
        You’re absolutely right in the Jennings assessment, but he has the highest ceiling of those three players and could get better.  Unlikely, but it could happen with age and proper coaching.  
        Smith is what he is.  There was a 10 year sample and I’m sure a better coach could have worked this situation into a 29-21 record, but that wasn’t the direction Joe (or Gores) chose to go in.  I still think Smith is best served as the 4th option on a really good team.  We’re not that.   
        I think before we make the conclusion that Smith and Jennings are the worst, the grade has to at least be incomplete at this point.   
         
         
         

  • Feb 10, 201411:07 am
    by Parsons

    Reply

    I honestly don’t care who’s hiring these guys the fact of the matter is they never should have been hired. Our last 4 coaches were pitiful and Flip wasn’t all that great either. When he’s your best hire as a franchise in the last 10 years there’s a problem and it needs to be solved. Everyone and their mother knew these guys couldn’t coach and we hired them anyway. Not only hired them but turned down better more proven options. Everyone knew no one on this roster can throw the ball into the ocean so any normal human being would have hired a defensive coach like Lional Hollins. Instead we pick Cheeks who needs help knowing which side of the court we’re supposed to be defending. Dumars has now created a culture of losing and dysfunction and needs to be fired for that reason. Add up all his questionable moves and the only thing left to applaud is his ability to not get fired, which I must admit is commendable.

  • Feb 10, 201411:11 am
    by mshansky

    Reply

    I think a significant factor in the firing, which gores alluded to, and which was obvious to me, is the fact that, as a team, thePistons are no better at this point than at the start of the season. thats ALL on cheeks and his staff, imo, barring injury. they should have improved somewhat by now, and not have the exact problems that faced them in october still just as unsolved..

  • Feb 10, 201411:22 am
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    Flip was 176-70….

    • Feb 10, 201411:47 am
      by Parsons

      Reply

      I never really knew what to make of Flip. His voice got old to our team real fast. He did win but never could get our team ready for the postseason. We always got to the East finals and figured that was good enough. I always kind of attributed his success to his inheriting of the best team in the NBA but he still had to coach it and he did a good job. Just not in the postseason but even then he won 10 postseason games 4 straight appearances including the one in Minnesota. I know I underrate him and the reason is that he was our last decent move. Our coaches after him though make Flip look like Phil Jackson. At least Flip was a legit head coach unlike his replacements. Your right though 176-70 is pretty good. Probably why he graduated to president of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

  • Feb 10, 201411:35 am
    by Gordbrown

    Reply

    What I see is this is the wrong decision at the wrong time and apparently for the wrong reasons. If there was another coach coming in, that would be one thing. But since that’s not happening, I am completely puzzled. For a bit of context, the nadir of this season was the peak of last season’s performance. Also Rome wasn’t built in a day. Or to put this another way, this team’s problems are not physical (except for their extreme weakness off the bench at guard). Its problems are psychological. I don’t really see how firing the coach just as the team seemed to turn the corner (and not replacing him) is not tearing out bricks rather than adding them. Yes some of it was Cheeks fault, extremely short rotations are not a solution for a team that routinely collapses at the end of games. Especially extremely short rotations featuring Will Bynum. On the other hand, he finally addressed that last issue, so things were looking up. Hopefully in two years this will just be a blip. But in the short run it’s going backwards and not forward.

  • Feb 10, 201411:53 am
    by Mrdumas

    Reply

    Phil Jackson wanted Brian shaw not cheeks

  • Feb 10, 201412:21 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)

    Reply

    About Flip…the pistons had become a very arrogant team….thats why I think Larry Brown stepped away….they thought they could just turn it on when they wanted….

    • Feb 10, 20144:07 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

      Flip wasn’t a very good playoff coach. The Pistons had become arrogant, but he played into it as well. As for Larry Brown, he already had his foot out the door going into the ’05 Finals. Sounds like he either wanted to cash in on his championship success or just wanted a change in scenery. Detroit likely wasn’t about to pay as much as NY.

  • Feb 10, 20141:41 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    Dumars has to go, just stale and really bad choices have been made consistently for the last 5 years or so…I give credit to him drafting Moose and Dre, I liked the Knight signing and KCP(until we traded Knight for Jennings, which made me want Burke)…Knight and KCP in the backcourt would have at the very least been strong defenders with a good chance of shooting down the road…but oh well…We know the moves Joe has made to out him in this position…the league is changing and we need someone in here that is ahead of the curve or at the very least sees it coming…If Joe feels like he has no say in these coaching hirings, firings etc…I don’t understand why he just doesn’t step down…he seems happy to do the job but sadly the results just have not come and with that means change…we have given him chances, after BG and CV we were willing to wait, the signing of Stuckey and Tay we continued to wait, the awful coaching we waited, this offseason the signing of two awful shooters and one who will have to play out of position, hired another bad coach…IM TIRED OF WAITING…move after move over the last 5-6 years have been down right bad…what has been the best move Joe has made over the last 5-7 years? There isn’t much to grab at guys…look at Ugiri in Toronto he comes in and dumps Bargnanis terrible contract and gets a first round pick and Novak, he dumps Rudy Gays awful contract and gets back an entire bench in Vasquez, Patterson, Salmons and Hayes…he saved them a tonne of money and got picks and the team is better now than every…that was like the old Joe D

  • Feb 10, 20142:49 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    *drafting not signing Knight

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