Billy Hunter

And-Ones: Fredette, Alexander, Hunter

Jimmer Fredette, who signed a one-year deal to play for the Shanghai Sharks in China, is disappointed he isn’t playing in the NBA this season, but looks at his overseas trek as the next chapter in his career, Dick Harmon of The Deseret News writes. “I’m anxious to get it started,” Fredette said. “It is very similar to an NBA style of play with the Sharks,” Fredette said. “And in a city three times the size of New York City, it will be a lot of fun. I can’t imagine a city that size after being in New York last year.

The guard hopes his experience overseas will make him a better player and help him land another NBA shot in the future, Harmon relays. “I just want to get better. My goal is to improve everything I do,” Fredette said. “As an American, they want you to go over there and score the basketball, to be free and play your game and try to produce. That’s my game, to be aggressive, to score, make the right play. I think it will continue to grow my confidence and get me prepared for my future.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Magic training camp signee Cliff Alexander is a decent pick-and-roll player, has good hands and is physical around the rim and in the paint area,’s Josh Cohen opines in his analysis of the player. The 20-year-old will compete for one of the remaining two regular season roster spots in Orlando during the preseason.
  • LeBron James, James Jones and Chris Paul have been served with notices of deposition in former NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the NBPA, Ethan Sherwood Strauss of reports. Paul is the union president, James serves as vice president and Jones as secretary treasurer. Hunter is suing the NBPA for $10.5 million in addition to attorney’s fees, for compensation he allegedly did not receive after his ouster in February 2013, Strauss notes.
  • The Bulls, who completely overhauled their roster this offseason, could struggle mightily this season if the team is unable to get consistent production from its reserves, Bobby Marks of The Vertical opines in his look back at Chicago’s summer.

And-Ones: Union, Tucker, Labissiere

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are on solid footing with each other, commissioner Adam Silver and union president Chris Paul indicate to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Both sides reportedly want to make significant progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement over the next year.

“I’m not going to rank the relationship, as compared to other times,” Silver said to Bontemps. “I would only say that the relationship, from my standpoint, is very healthy right now between the league and the players’ association.”

Less than a year remains before the December 15th, 2016 deadline for either side to exercise its mutual option to terminate the existing collective bargaining agreement after next season. See more on the players union amid the latest from around the NBA:

  • The union has filed a multimillion dollar countersuit against former executive director Billy Hunter, reports Ken Berger of Hunter is seeking $10.5MM in damages as part of his suit, and while the union didn’t specify how much it’s looking for, Berger suggests the number is in excess of $6MM. A new collective bargaining agreement between the union and the NBA is likely to come before resolution on the Hunter matter, Berger contends.
  • P.J. Tucker is drawing interest from many teams around the league, as TNT’s David Aldridge indicates within his Morning Tip column for, one that suggests a series of trade ideas. The Suns small forward is making $5.5MM this season but has only $1.5MM guaranteed for next year.
  • Kentucky forward/center Skal Labissiere‘s draft stock continues to fall, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress slots him at No. 5 in his latest mock draft and rankings, having dropped him from No. 1 to No. 3 earlier this month. LSU combo forward Ben Simmons tops Givony’s latest list, with Duke small forward Brandon Ingram and power forward Dragan Bender of Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv to follow.

And-Ones: Hunter, Doncic, Sterling

Attorneys for former NBPA executive director Billy Hunter filed an amended complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, seeking a jury trial on four breach of contract claims related to his 2013 termination, according to Ken Berger of The new complaint removes claims against former NBPA president and current Knicks coach Derek Fisher and his business manager and also clarifies the compensation claims, Berger continues. The amended complaint, obtained by, includes a copy of Hunter’s 2010 contract, which called for him to be paid the balance of his salary and benefits through the end of the contract term if fired without cause, and through the end of the applicable calendar year if fired for cause. The complaint alleges that Hunter has not been paid since his termination, Berger adds.

In other news around the league:

  • Luka Doncic has carved out a role with European power Real Madrid and the 16-year-old forward could be a high lottery pick when he’s eligible, according to Bleacher Report’s international expert David PickHawks overseas scout Himar Ojeda told Pick that the 6’8” Doncic will be the best European of his age group when he enters the draft.
  • A California appeals court on Monday rejected former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s attempt to reverse the $2 billion sale of the team, Brian Melley of The Associated Press reports. The court ruled that Sterling failed to show that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who approved the sale last year committed any legal error. Sterling’s estranged wife sold the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
  • The Spurs assigned small forward Jonathon Simmons to their D-League affiliate in Austin, the club announced via press release. Simmons made his NBA debut on Saturday, playing nine minutes against the Sixers. Simmons has played in 94 games with Austin over the past two seasons.

And-Ones: Brand, Nance, Wolves, Union

Elton Brand struck a pessimistic tone about his chances to play again, in a remark that Al Coqueran of The Examiner News relays. “I could get in shape if I got the call but this looks like the end of the run for me, right now it is family time,” Brand said at a youth basketball camp this weekend in his native Peekskill, New York. Still, while the 36-year-old indicated that he hasn’t received an offer from an NBA team yet, won’t rule out a return for what would be a 17th NBA season, observes Jane Lerner of The Journal News. “We’ll see what happens,” Brand said.

While we wait to find out if Brand will be playing in any of the games that will go on the calendar when the NBA announces the regular season schedule Wednesday, there’s more from around the league:

  • The Lakers surprised Larry Nance Jr. when they made him a first-round pick, as Nance tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball InsidersChad Ford of ranked the Wyoming power forward the 46th-best prospect heading into the draft and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had him at No. 64. “I was just hoping to hear my name called at all,” Nance said. “So to hear it called 27th overall by the Lakers, I was like, ‘Really? Really?!’ I had a sense of disbelief because it was just so crazy. I mean, I was just fighting to hear my name called at all and now I’m picked in the first round by the best franchise in history? I couldn’t have dreamt up a better scenario.”
  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor doesn’t anticipate that coach/executive Flip Saunders will need to step away from his duties at any point this season, tweets Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Saunders remains in charge of the Wolves front office and as head coach in spite of a cancer diagnosis that the team revealed today.
  • A court dealt the National Basketball Players Association a setback Monday as it fights to dismiss a lawsuit that former executive director Billy Hunter brought against the union, reports Ken Berger of Hunter, who alleges wrongful termination, is seeking at least $10.5MM. The matter will proceed in Los Angeles Superior Court, where Hunter has previously received a favorable ruling, Berger notes.

And-Ones: Hunter, Draft, Hairston

Ousted players union executive director Billy Hunter has dropped his appeal of a civil ruling in a suit Hunter had brought against former union president Derek Fisher and Jamie Wior, Fisher’s business manager. Hunter must pay more than $200K to cover the legal fees for Fisher and Wior. A case in which Hunter alleges the union owes him $10.5MM remains active. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the details in three separate tweets.

More from around the league:

  • There has been some speculation that Fisher is the favorite to land the Knicks head coaching position if he retires after this season. Another possibility being mentioned for Fisher is him being both a player and assistant coach for the Thunder next season, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). The collective bargaining agreement bars players from actively serving as a player and coach at the same time, but Fisher could perform the duties of an assistant coach while remaining on the active roster as a player.
  • P.J. Hairston is drawing interest from the Lakers, Clippers, and Jazz, writes Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. Hairston signed with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League back on January 14th and averaged 21.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG.
  • Chris Mannix of released his latest mock draft.
  • A number of lottery teams have expressed a willingness to trade their picks, reports Mannix (Twitter link).
  • Jonathan Tjarks of released his initial mock draft of the year.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.


Odds & Ends: Deng, Dwight, Union, Gay

Luol Deng had a sarcastic response to a question about whether he’d consider returning to the Bulls in free agency this summer, poking fun at the team’s three-year, $30MM extension offer that he rejected, notes Sam Smith of Still, Deng won’t rule out a Chicago homecoming.

“I have nothing against (anyone),” Deng said. “What happened, happened. I love Chicago. I’ve been there 10 years. There’s no bad blood or anything. What happened, happened. It is what it is. But for me to sit here and say, ‘I’m taking Chicago out of the equation,’ that’s stupid. I was there for 10 years.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard is returning to USA Basketball after a six-year absence with eyes on being a part of the Team USA squad in the basketball World Cup this summer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
  • A judge has dismissed the remaining charges in the lawsuit that former players union executive director Billy Hunter brought against Derek Fisher, and Hunter could be on the hook for Fisher’s legal fees, as Ken Berger of explains. The ruling doesn’t affect Hunter’s litigation claiming the union owes him $10.5MM.
  • report last month indicated the Kings would engage Rudy Gay in extension talks if he performed well, and in spite of his improved play, the team and his reps at Octagon Sports have yet to have that discussion, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Gay scored a career-high 41 points last night.
  • The Grizzlies have no interest in trading for Pau Gasol, and the Lakers won’t compromise their cap flexibility in any Gasol swap, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who thinks the Spanish center will stay put through the deadline (Sulia link).
  • The extension that two-year NBA veteran Charles Jenkins signed with his Serbian team includes an escape clause in case he finds work in the NBA, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia tweets.
  • Marc Stein of details the convoluted maneuvers that have allowed the D-League affiliate of the Mavericks to acquire Fab Melo. The 2012 first-round pick signed a D-League contract last week.

Billy Hunter Accuses Derek Fisher Of Conspiring With NBA

Billy Hunter claimed that former players’ union president Derek Fisher conspired with the NBA on a 50-50 revenue split during the lockout, in a new court filing, tweets Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.  Hunter names Kobe Bryant as the source of this information, saying Bryant and agent Rob Pelinka called to say the veteran point guard had to cut a deal at a 50-50 split of revenues (link).

The court filing includes statements of support for Hunter from Theo Ratliff, Etan Thomas and Maurice Evans, who were executive members of the NBPA, saying that Fisher had secret dealings with the owners during the lockout of 2011 (Twitter link).

Hunter was ousted as executive director in February amid accusations of him misappropriating funds.  The former union head was said to have given cushy jobs to to his daughter, daughter-in-law, and other people close to him while raking in a $3MM yearly salary.  That salary was higher than union chiefs in the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball and it appears that he raised it from $2.4MM without proper union consent.

Odds & Ends: Burke, Jefferson, NBPA

Jazz rookie Trey Burke  fractured his right index finger and will be evaluated on Monday tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Genessy notes, via Twitter, that Scott Machado has been given the most time behind Burke and John Lucas III at point guard this preseason.

Genessy  also wonders, in a tweet, whether the Jazz will bring someone else in depending on the severity of Burke’s injury, and mentions Jamaal Tinsley as a possibility. Marc Stein of ESPN tweets that he’s heard of interest from the Jazz about the Bulls’ Marquis Teague, and postulates they may revisit that with Burke going down. The Jazz will find out Monday whether Burke’s fractured finger will require surgery, Stein adds (Twitter).

Here are a smattering of other links from around the league tonight:

  • After the Bobcats‘ big free agent, Al Jefferson, severely sprained his ankle, he told the AP in Milwaukee that he’s trying to be back for opening night, tweets the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell.
  • That’s 18 days away, Bonnell adds on Twitter, and he wonders in his next tweet whether the Bobcats might look to add a center in the interim.
  • The Mavericks pickup of DeJuan Blair this summer might be huge for them,  as we noted earlier tonight. Blair is looking forward to playing his former team, the Mavs intra-state rival Spurs, writes the Star-Telegram’s Dwain Price.
  • Blair’s bitterness about his time in San Antonio is evident when he tells Price, “[the Spurs] didn’t give me nothing when I was there. I mean, the fans gave me everything, but everything else, it is what it is. I don’t look at that. I look for us to get a win.”
  • Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports that the NBPA will not pay their new union head the $3MM annually that former executive director Billy Hunter made before he was ousted. Union sources say the annual pay will be around $1.5MM for the new executive director.
  • The Knicks lost to the Celtics by 30 tonight in preseason action, but Touré Murry and Ike Diogu both made a case for a roster spot, writes ESPN New York’s Ian Begley.

LeBron James On Possible NBPA Presidency

Late last month, Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports revealed that LeBron James was considering a run for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Presidency, which has remained vacant since Derek Fisher's term expired this summer. 

Today James told ESPN's Brian Windhorst that "my voice could be huge in that situation." As Windhorst notes, the NBPA has come under scrutiny recently after the 2011 CBA negotiations saw the players ceding a significant portion of the league's basketball related income to ownership. 

The loss of revenue in CBA negotiations was followed by a scandal involving Fisher and the union's former executive director Billy Hunter involving the use of the union's finances. With all the invective surrounding the NBPA over the last couple years, James has thrown his hat into the ring as the next possible President, with his clout as the league's preeminent star his biggest selling point for the role.

James believes the NBPA is due for an overhaul, saying "I just think the union is going backwards, and it's not in a good place right now." But as the game's best player, the league's biggest name overseas, and a global marketing phenomenon, James might not have the time to serve in that role. 

"I'm not sure I have the time to do it, but it's something I'm going to think about with my team and go from there," James revealed to Windhorst on Saturday after an event for his foundation in his hometown of Akron. "But I think we all can agree there's been a lot of transition in our union in the last couple of years. If it's not me in that seat then I hope it's someone who is comfortable with it and can do the job."

The last NBA star to hold the role of NBPA President was Knicks center Patrick Ewing, who served in that capacity more than a decade ago. The union's summer meeting is later in August, and Whitlock wrote that the earliest decision on electing a new NBPA President could come towards the end of August. 

Billy Hunter Files Lawsuit Against NBPA, Fisher

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News Sports tweeted that former player's union executive director Billy Hunter has filed a lawsuit against the NBPA, union president Derek Fisher, and Jamie Wior (Fisher's publicist), claiming defamation and a breach of contract. Ken Berger of CBS Sports elaborated further on the matter, reporting that the suit includes allegations accusing Fisher and Wior of secretly conspiring with "certain owners" (not identified in the suit) to negotiate the conclusion of the 2011 lockout and that their actions ultimately led to the termination of Hunter's contract with the NBPA.

Hunter's lawsuit contends that Fisher "actively manipulated the investigation" conducted by the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, & Garrison law firm "by making false statements impugning Hunter's character." The document also questions why Hunter's employment contract from 2010 was deemed invalid by the Paul-Weiss firm considering that Fisher – whose signature on Hunter's termination letter indicates that he had authorization to hire Hunter – had signed it.

Expanding on the accusation that Fisher had secretly worked with several NBA owners in order to end the lockout, the lawsuit includes that Hunter received a telephone call from "one of the highest paid players and his agent" nearly a month before the actual agreement was reached and was notified that a deal had already been agreed upon with the owners. At that point, it is alleged that Hunter was then told by the player and agent to accept the terms and end the lockout. Hunter's party also contends that Fisher had negotiated the 50-50 split of league revenue "without consulting with Hunter or the Executive Committee."

Among some of the rest of the charges listed in the lawsuit, Fisher is accused of "(inserting) himself into the collective bargaining process to the detriment of the union" and that he "was incentivized to complete a deal as quickly as possible given his limited playing career and need to secure his future job prospects by staying on good terms with the NBA and team owners." It also brings into question the active role of Jamie Wior, who Hunter asserts had no authority to become involved with or assist Fisher with the negotiations of the CBA. At the very minimum, Hunter is seeking the rest of the money owed to him at the time his contract was terminated, not including compensatory and punitive damages.