Players pushing for Hunter's ouster
As Billy Hunter works with NBA officials to put the finishing touches on a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, there is a strong push behind the scenes to have him removed from his executive director post after its completion. On Wednesday, CBSSports.com reported that about a dozen agents were seeking to have Hunter reinstalled as the National Basketball Players' Association executive director only on an interim basis when the union reforms this week.
On Thursday, three players told SI.com they had serious doubts about whether Hunter should lead the union going forward and have voiced that opinion to other players.
"He's trying to tell us this is a good deal," one player said. "It's not a good deal. It will get approved, but don't try to tell us it's a good deal."
Chief among player complaints has been how Hunter handled the dissolution of the union. Many players believed that the union should have dissolved (or decertified) back in July, when it was clear the owners were taking a hard-line stance in the negotiations.
Last month, Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson told Yahoo! Sports that Hunter was doing a "horrible job." Players have also been upset by Hunter's unwillingness to reduce his salary during the work stoppage, like the NFL Players' head, DeMaurice Smith, did during their lockout. Smith reduced his pay to $1 for the length of the NFL work stoppage.
In June, free agent forward Shane Battier reportedly confronted Hunter about whether he would stop taking salary (which is reportedly more than $2 million annually) during a lockout and several players have privately expressed frustration that Hunter has continued to be paid while the players were out of work.
"It's a joke," another player said.
Hunter has served as the executive director of the players' association since 1996.