The National Basketball Players Association has begun a reorganization of its power structure by announcing that union head Billy Hunter be placed on indefinite leave of absence.
Hunter has led the players' association since 1996, but has fallen out of favor with certain players as well as agents for certain business and negotiating tactics.
"The NBPA announced today through its President, Derek Fisher, the formation of both an Interim Executive Committee and Advisory Committee to move the organization forward. The Interim Executive Committee consists of all five active members of the most recent NBPA Executive Committee and was formed pursuant to the NBPA's Constitution and Bylaws," read a statement issued by the players' association on Friday.
After a recent report commissioned by the association found no evidence of illegal activities by Hunter, there were findings of questionable behavior.
"In light of the detailed findings contained in the recent report issued by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the ongoing criminal and civil investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and the need to ensure an orderly and appropriate meeting of the player representatives at All Star Weekend, the Players have requested that the Executive Committee protect the Players' interest and move the Union forward.
"The Executive Committee has begun this process by forming these additional Committees, which will ensure that the best interests of the players are being served and to provide full transparency to each member of the NBPA. 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 first item on the list which the committees voted on unanimously was to place Hunter on indefinite leave, in order to facilitate the process.
Hunter was signed to a $3 million deal back in 2010, but since it was never officially approved, the above cited report empowered the players to remove him from power if necessary.
Ron Klempner, the NBPA Deputy General Counsel, was appointed Acting Executive Director.
"Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA's only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago," Fisher said, citing the review of Hunter's leadership he called for in the wake of the lockout which forced a truncation of the 2011-12 season.
"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. We ask for the cooperation, trust and patience of the Players, their representatives and some of our hard working NBPA staff as we navigate through this situation. But rest assured that our goal is to do what is right for the Players and we will emerge stronger than before."