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Report: Federal ATF Director may get look at NBA players’ union head

Feb 6, 2013, 8:35 AM EDT

B. Todd Jones, Eric Holder AP

Billy Hunter is not out yet as head of the NBA players union, and as anybody entrenched in a position of power for a long time (since 1996) he is not going quietly. He will fight for his position.

But plenty of jockeying for his position is going on.

We told you how some agents were angling to get Donald Fehr in the spot — an aggressive negotiator who had been head of the baseball union — but others are looking at a man high up the ranks of the Obama administration, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the Yahoo Sports Network.

As the NBPA prepares for the possibility of the league’s players voting the union’s current executive director, Billy Hunter, out of office, B. Todd Jones, the acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, will be a target should a change be made, sources said.

The NBPA will use an executive search firm to coordinate the process, sources said.

Jones is interesting, but he kind of has a job right now.

My guess is Hunter will get his walking papers All-Star weekend (albeit probably with a healthy severance package). The report by an independent law firm raising a number of ethical red flags combined with pressure from agents that want him out is just going to be too much.

Then the players need to think about what kind of person they want to help them negotiate the next CBA for them in 2018. Fehr is king of the labor stoppage, he is very aggressive. You can bet the agents like that. But is someone like Jones, who can stand his ground without being as abrasive, be a better call? You can be sure it’s not just those two lobbying for a shot in the big chair.

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