Billy Hunter Out As Executive Director Of Union

February 16 2013 at 5:21pm CST By Chuck Myron

5:21pm: Wojnarowski writes that the NBPA's decision to fire Hunter could lead to a legal dispute over the $10.5MM remaining on his contract.

4:38pm: Fisher and Matt Bonner will remain union president and vice president, respectively, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). James Jones will serve as secretary/treasurer, TNT's David Aldridge adds via Twitter. They'll join Stackhouse, Roger Mason, Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Willie Green on the new executive committee, tweets USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. In brief remarks, Fisher hinted that he expects Hunter will take legal action following his dismissal, Washburn notes (Twitter link).

4:29pm: The vote to oust Hunter was 24-0, Wojnarowski tweets, with six player representatives apparently absent from the meeting. 

3:50pm: The players union has voted to remove longtime executive director Billy Hunter from his position, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The move has appeared likely over the last couple of days, as Hunter had been placed on an indefinite leave of absence following the release of an independent investigation critical of his practices. In a meeting today that Hunter did not attend, player representatives voted in a "decisive manner" to fire Hunter, and LeBron James spoke of the need for an overhaul, Wojnarowski tweets.

James and Nets reserve Jerry Stackhouse were two of the most vocal players at the meeting, and Stackhouse excoriated union president Derek Fisher, who has been cast as one of Hunter's opponents in a yearlong power struggle atop the union, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link). It's unclear whether the players voted to fire him with or without cause, though it appeared two days ago that firing Hunter with cause was the favored route. According to Hunter's contract, a firing with cause would entail "embezzlement, theft, larceny, material fraud or other acts of dishonesty" on Hunter's part, and the "acts of dishonesty" clause looked to be the players' best chance to pursue the action. A firing with cause would allow Hunter to collect his salary for the remainder of the year and for any accrued and unused vacation, rather than the full value of his contract as would be necessary in a firing without cause, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today detailed.

Hunter, who's been in charge of the NBPA for 17 years, created a blog to present his response to the report by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison that laid out Hunter's abuses of power while in office. There were conflicting reports from Hunter's lawyers and the NBPA over whether Hunter was allowed to attend today's meeting.

Several influential agents have been privately discussing Don Fehr, former baseball union chief and current head of the NHL players union, as a successor to Hunter. A couple of weeks ago, Wojnarowski reported that the union may look for a replacement in B. Todd Jones, the current Minnesota attorney general and acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Agent Arn Tellem, speaking with Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal, advised the players to take their time in selecting a new executive director.

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