NBPA Places Billy Hunter On Indefinite Leave

February 1 2013 at 4:02pm CDT By Luke Adams

4:02pm: Hunter's attorney, Thomas Ashley, has issued a statement on behalf of his client, as Ken Berger passes along (in a handful of Twitter links). Ashley called the interim committee's authority "highly questionable," writing that the decision to place Hunter on indefinite leave "is not supported in either the constitution or bylaws of the NBPA."

2:00pm: Hunter is expected to challenge the authority of the five-man interim executive committee that placed him on indefinite leave, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. However, Berger suggests that the move adhered to the NBPA's constitution and bylaws (all Twitter links).

12:48pm: Jared Dudley, the Suns' alternate player representative, tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that he believes Hunter's "shady" actions mean it's time for the players to take action.

"I think it's time for a vote," Dudley said. "I think before there was never a chance. I think because of what's going on, it's time now. It's like when we had to decide do we take the deal during the lockout or not take it? We voted on that and we had options…. I think now it's come to the point where guys, after taking a look at this information, should have an opportunity to vote: in or out."

10:34am: Derek Fisher sent a memo to NBA players on Friday morning announcing the decision, according to Wojnarowski.

"Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership," Fisher wrote. "This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago. The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as Players. Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the Committee Members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be."

Fisher will head an interim executive committee and advisory committee that will meet during All-Star weekend to work on reorganizing the union.

10:08am: The NBPA has placed union chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence, reports ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter). According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), the move represents the first step in the process to have Hunter removed from the position on a permanent basis. NBPA counsel Ron Klempner has been named the union's interim executive director, tweets Wojnarowski.

An independent audit of the NBPA conducted by a law firm recently released its findings, concluding that while Hunter had not engaged in any criminal acts, he had acted in his own best interests, and the player's union ought to consider whether he should stay in the role. Shortly thereafter, prominent agent Arn Tellem penned a letter urging his clients to oust Hunter from his position.

For his part, Hunter has seemingly been putting on a full-court press to keep his job lately, firing his daughter and daughter-in-law, who had roles in the organization. He also announced new anti-nepotism and conflict of interest policies for the NBPA. However, as Zach Lowe of Grantland notes (on Twitter), it seems as if Hunter's reforms are too "transparently timed" and may be too little, too late.

The players' association is scheduled to conduct its next series of meetings during this month's All-Star weekend.

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