The team announced the move Sunday after a meeting between ownership and Kuester. He had a 57-107 record over two seasons with the club, including a 30-52 mark in 2010-11. This past season was marked by conflict between Kuester and some of his players.
"Decisions like this are difficult to make," said Joe Dumars, president of basketball operations, in a release from the team. "I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change."
Dumars said in a statement that the team has no timetable for hiring a successor.
Kuester was named head coach on July 9, 2009, but the Pistons failed to make the playoffs in both of his seasons. They hadn't missed the postseason in consecutive years since a three-year stretch from 1993-95.
Detroit was an Eastern Conference power for most of the last decade, when Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown and Flip Saunders had successful stints as head coach. The Pistons won the NBA title in 2004 under Brown and reached the Finals the following season.
Saunders then led Detroit to three consecutive conference finals appearances, but the Pistons have since declined. They went 39-43 in one season with Michael Curry as head coach before Kuester took over.