Representatives of 24 of the 30 NBA teams met on Saturday in Houston and unanimously voted to relieve Billy Hunter of his duties as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
The news comes a day after Hunter reportedly began a push to save his job, which he had held since 1996. Nepotism allegations and other questionable practices, detailed in a critical eight-month Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison LLP report that recommended his removal, forced him to take a leave of absence beginning on Feb. 1.
Hunter needed the backing of two-thirds of the 30 team reps in order to save his job, but the vote was 24-0 against Hunter with six teams not represented, the report states. Heat superstar LeBron James led the push against Hunter at the meeting, according to Wojnarowski, while Nets veteran Jerry Stackhouse was also vocal against players association president Derek Fisher.
Hunter was not invited to the meeting, but defended his actions in a report released Friday morning. One of his attorneys asserted that Hunter did not embezzle or steal money from the NBPA, according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt.
In a statement, one of Hunter's attorneys, Michael Carlinsky, said, "The evidence does not show that Mr. Hunter embezzled, or stole money from the NBPA. The Report also does not cite to a single NBPA policy or rule that Mr. Hunter allegedly violated. The Report can best be characterized as one law firm's judgment by hindsight with which we respectfully disagree." Hunter, executive director since 1996, is in a battle to save his $3 million a year job. The Paul, Weiss report slammed Hunter's hiring practices, which included charges of nepotism. Potentially more damning was the report's claim that Hunter didn't have his contract extension properly approved and when notified that it wasn't approved properly, Hunter took no action.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan is also investigating the NBPA, and its investigation remains ongoing.