NBA union head will go on offensive in Houston
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
With his future as the National Basketball Players Association’s executive director potentially at stake at All-Star Weekend in Houston, Billy Hunter will go on the offensive over the next few days, trying to save his job.
Hunter needs to convince players that the information detailed in the independent report conducted by a New York law firm is not damaging enough to remove him from his position and/or prove that the information in the report is incorrect or misleading. The report contained information that had dozens of interviews and reviewed financial records and e-mails that showed, among other things, that Hunter had hired family members and companies that employed family members, and that he knew his more than $3million contract had not been properly approved.
Today, Hunter and his lawyers will release their report, defending Hunter’s record and refuting some findings released in the independent review. The report will address charges of nepotism and questions about his contract.
One of Hunter’s attorneys, Corey Worcester of the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, told USA TODAY Sports that Hunter did not do anything wrong according to union bylaws.
“There’s no there there,” Worcester said. “This is an effort to make zero plus zero plus zero equal one.”
Players will meet this weekend to discuss Hunter’s future and perhaps vote to determine whether they’ll part ways with Hunter, who was placed on administrative leave of absence by NBPA committee Feb.1.
If the players want to fire Hunter, they need a majority vote from the executive committee. They can fire him with cause or without cause. With cause means “embezzlement, theft, larceny, material fraud or other acts of dishonesty,” according to Hunter’s contract. If they fire him with cause, the union would need to pay Hunter for the remainder of the year and for any accrued or unused vacation.
If they fire him without cause, they would need to pay Hunter the full remainder of his contract. It’s unlikely the players would choose to go that route.
Toledo College of Law professor and sports law expert Geoffrey Rapp said the union would likely look at the “acts of dishonesty” phrase because … [For more on NBA union head will go on offensive in Houston, click here.]