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Donovan Continues to Build Bulls' Staff by Hiring Maurice Cheeks as an Assistant Coach

Mo Cheeks returns home as an assistant coach for the Bulls.
Maurice Cheeks Bulls Assistant Coach

Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

Bulls' head coach Billy Donovan added yet another assistant coach today, and this one is his biggest catch yet. Donovan brought in Hall-of-Famer and Chicago native Maurice (Mo) Cheeks, who was an assistant under him with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Shams Charania broke the news.

Cheeks’ previous relationship with Donovan, along with his extensive resume, should make him a quick, comfortable fit on the quickly developing staff. He’ll certainly know his way around town.

Chicago born and raised, Cheeks attended DuSable High School on Chicago’s South Side before going to West Texas A&M, which prefaced his famed career as an NBA player and coach.

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Cheeks’ extensive coaching experience includes time as both a head coach and an assistant. His coaching journey began right after he retired as a player in 1993. He first served as an assistant for the Quad City Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association for a year before landing a gig as an assistant for his old team, the 76ers, from 1994-2001. During his final year in Philadelphia, he was part of Larry Brown’s staff when the 76ers made it to the NBA Finals with Allen Iverson.

The Portland Trailblazers hired him to be their head coach for the next four seasons. Cheeks led his team to the playoffs twice, but Portland exited after the first round on both occasions. Ultimately, he was fired after a poor start to the 2004-05 season.

Following his time with the Blazers, Cheeks returned to the 76ers organization for a third stint -- this time as head coach for the 2005-06 season. The team struggled initially but finally made the playoffs in 2008, only to exit in the first round. After a slow start the next season, Cheeks was fired.

Cheeks returned to the NBA as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009 and remained there until the start of the 2013-14 campaign when the Detroit Pistons made him their head coach. It didn’t last long, however, as Cheeks was fired in February of his first season. A little over a year later, then-new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan asked Cheeks to return as an assistant coach.

Cheeks played in the NBA from 1978-1993 as a point guard with the 76ers, Spurs, Knicks, Hawks, and Nets, winning a championship in 1983 with the 76ers. Other playing honors include four-time NBA All-Star and four-time All-Defensive First Team. His number is retired by the 76ers and currently hangs from the rafters at the team’s Wells Fargo Center home. Cheeks currently ranks fifth in steals and 11th in assists all-time. In 2018, he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.