Skip to content

New report suggests financial, ethical issues at NBA players union

Jan 17, 2013, 6:39 PM EDT

NBPA Meet To Discuss Current CBA Offer Getty Images

UPDATE 6:39 pm: Union Executive Director Billy Hunter released a statement. What you think of it pretty much describes what you think of Hunter. Here it is in its entirety:

“The NBPA is currently reviewing the full independent special report simultaneous with the public. While I strongly disagree with some of the findings contained in the report, I am pleased it recognized that I have not engaged in criminal acts nor was I involved in misappropriation of union funds. Regarding my contract — my third in a long tenure of the organization — it was ratified by the NBPA Executive Committee and signed by President Derek Fisher. I believe the contract and extensions are valid. I am pleased to discuss with the Player Representative board any concerns about my contract.

“In my work for the NBPA, my priority has always been to promote the interests of the players. Through the benefit of hindsight, as with any executive, there are always things that could have been done better. But on the major issue, I am pleased that this report has confirmed what I have always known and said, I did nothing illegal.

“During my tenure, the salaries of NBA players have more than doubled and they are the highest paid athletes in the world. When I arrived at the NBPA in 1996 the challenges were significant. The Union’s financial liabilities exceeded its assets. Today the Union is solvent and its financial future is secure. The Union and players endured two lengthy and costly lockouts. Our greatest accomplishment is the unity and solidarity that the players maintained throughout those very difficult rounds of bargaining.

“Prior to the report’s issuance, the NBPA began implementation of some of the recommendations suggested, including a revised hiring policy and a new anti-nepotism policy. I look forward to continuing my work with the NBPA, adopting additional recommendations from the report and opening a new chapter of NBPA governance. I believe through these steps the NBPA will emerge from this review a stronger organization and continue to meet the needs of its membership. I will be reaching out to the membership to discuss the report and address ways to pursue the best path forward for the NBPA.”

3:47 pm: During the NBA lockout there was clearly a divide within the National Basketball Players Association (the NBA players union) — it was sort of “are you with executive director Billy Hunter or not?”

The lockout ending didn’t end the dispute. On Thursday the results of an investigation into the union raised a lot of questions about how the union does business. That includes Hunter’s own $15 million contract not going through the proper approval process.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network has the details on what the report by the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison found. For the record they found no criminal issues with the union, but a whole lot of red flags on other issues saying Hunter put personal issues and interests ahead of the players and the union.

As previously reported by Yahoo! Sports, Hunter “never told the union’s executive committee or player representatives that his current employment contract, which was executed in 2010, was not properly approved under the union’s By-Laws, even though by at least November 2011 outside counsel to the Union had told Mr. Hunter that the necessary approval had not occurred and remained necessary.”

• As detailed in an April report by Y! Sports, Hunter “involved family and friends in union business as employees or vendors without full disclosure and the disinterested approval of the union’s officers and directors.”

• “Created an atmosphere at the NBPA that discouraged challenges to his authority, including by allowing the union’s former general counsel, Gary Hall, to stop former secretary-treasurer Pat Garrity from speaking freely about conflicts of interest to the executive committee.”

So, he acted like every other executive in a suit in New York.

Hunter, no doubt, will challenge all the claims made. I’m not going to guess who is right and who is wrong. In a lot of ways this is a power struggle so everything is spin.

The real question is what is next. The union as a whole is scheduled to meet All-Star Weekend in Houston, you can bet this comes up. Is it time for a change in leadership at the union? If so, what direction do they go? Or, is it better to let Hunter stay and try to clean up issues.

Why it matters to fans is this — in five years you can bet one side is going to opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was just formalized and signed more than a year ago. Who sits at the negotiating table when that happens matters. For the owners it will be Adam Silver, the current deputy commissioner tagged to take over the big chair when David Stern steps down in 2014.

Who sits in the chair for the players union (along with economic and other factors) will determine whether things get resolved or if the NBA goes the way of the NHL with its labor fights.

Latest Posts
  1. Kevin Durant is tired of being asked about Tony Allen. Very tired.

    Apr 24, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT

    Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

    Sorry KD, but through two games Allen has been the MVP of this series.

  2. Jabari Parker tells Dan Patrick two-and-done is “ridiculous,” likes ‘Melo comparison

    Apr 24, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Gardner-Webb v Duke Getty Images

    Jabari Parker says he passed more than Carmelo because he had a better team to pass to.

  3. How much would you pay Lance Stephenson in free agency this summer?

    Apr 24, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Boston Celtics  v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

    He wants Steph Curry money, but he’ll likely get more like $7 million a year.

  4. Pau Gasol says he would stay with Lakers for Kobe, but there needs to be changes

    Apr 24, 2014, 2:32 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Gasol basically wants D’Antoni gone, but even then he likely moves on.

  5. Oscar Robertson says if he were Carmelo Anthony “I would leave today”

    Apr 24, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Oscar Robertson thinks ‘Melo should get out of Dodge (and go to Houston).

  6. Nick Young’s first pitch at Dodger game is juuuust a bit outside (VINE)

    Apr 24, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Nick Young AP

    He will not be getting a baseball contract soon.

  7. Jason Collins makes the Time 100

    Apr 24, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

    Bl-5vGACMAE8nxe

    Dwyane Wade does writeup on Serena Williams

  8. Clearly frustrated James Harden argues with reporter, calls him “weirdo”

    Apr 24, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT

    James Harden James Harden

    Harden is frustrated. He should be, shooting under 30 percent for two games.

  9. Mike Conley wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

    Apr 24, 2014, 10:19 AM EDT

    Mike Conley, Kendrick Perkins Mike Conley, Kendrick Perkins

    Grizzlies guard gets Joe Dumars Trophy over Jeff Green, Channing Frye, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard and Mike Dunleavy

  10. Can LaMarcus Aldridge break the all-time single-playoff scoring record?

    Apr 24, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets - Game Two Getty Images

    Trail Blazers forward is averaging 44.5 points trhough two games

  11. LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard had a duel (VIDEO)

    Apr 24, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones

    Dwight Howard was aggressive early and put on a show, but LaMarcus Aldridge won the war.

  12. Thursday NBA playoff previews: Which Indiana team shows up?

    Apr 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Paul George AP

    All three series Thursday night are tied 1-1.

  13. LaMarcus Aldridge ruining Dwight Howard’s chance at redemption

    Apr 24, 2014, 1:40 AM EDT

    Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge

    Trail Blazers take 2-0 series lead with second win in Houston

  14. Spurs give the ball away first, then Game 2 to Dallas

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:54 PM EDT

    Tony Parker Tony Parker

    The Spurs turned the ball over on 26.2 percent of their possessions. It’s very unSpurs like.

Featured video

Wizards playing spoiler in East
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. A. Jefferson (3427)
  2. K. Durant (2907)
  3. L. James (2844)
  4. D. Wade (2782)
  5. D. Rose (2691)
  1. J. Noah (2588)
  2. K. Bryant (2440)
  3. D. Howard (2432)
  4. A. Bogut (2273)
  5. P. George (2180)