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Pistons hire Cheeks as head coach

Maurice Cheeks was named as the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons after agreeing to a multi-year contract on Monday.

Cheeks, a former head coach in both Portland and Philadelphia, has spent the past four seasons as an assistant with Oklahoma City, where he helped guide the Thunder to an NBA Finals appearance in 2012 and the best record in the Western Conference this past regular season.

The 56-year-old will be formally introduced at a press conference later this week.

"After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge, but his communication and leadership skills," said Pistons owner Tom Gores. "We are very excited to have someone of his experience and talent help take this franchise into the future."

Cheeks compiled a 284-286 overall record over eight seasons as an NBA head coach, four with Portland (2001-05) and four with Philadelphia (2005-09). However, his teams reached the playoffs only three times and never won a postseason series.

He had considerably more success as a player, serving as the starting point guard on the 76ers' 1982-83 NBA championship squad and earning All-Star honors four times during a 15-year career. Cheeks was also named to the All-Defensive Team five times.

Cheeks was also an assistant with Philadelphia during the Sixers' run to the 2001 NBA Finals.

"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," said Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars. "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 NBA."

Cheeks takes over a Pistons team that has missed the playoffs in four straight years and hasn't won more than 30 games in any of those seasons. Detroit fired Lawrence Frank in April following a 29-53 finish.