NEW YORK – NBA players put union chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave Friday, two weeks after a report they commissioned questioned Hunter’s leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices.
The union is forming an interim executive committee and an advisory committee, the group’s president, Derek Fisher, said Friday. An outside attorney is also being hired as players begin moving forward, likely without the man who has guided them since 1996.
Hunter’s attorney responded that the actions weren’t allowable under NBPA rules, setting up the possibility of a Hunter fight to keep to his job.
Fisher pushed for the outside review of Hunter and the union. That examination by a New York law firm found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and recommended players discuss whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings.
“Because of the unusual circumstances at the union, a result of mismanagement extensively documented by the Paul, Weiss report, the committees have decided to take immediate actions that allow them to assess the situation fully and build a stronger, more effective organization that better represents their membership,” the statement released through Fisher’s publicist said.
Released Jan. 17 after an eight-month review, the report found that Hunter was aware his $3 million per year contract was never properly approved. It also criticized his hiring of family members and friends, and said there were other conflicts of interests he should have avoided.