Chris Paul was elected president of the National Basketball Players Assn.… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Hoping to put one of the most chaotic periods in the history of their union behind them, NBA players on Wednesday elected Clippers guard Chris Paul as their president during summer meetings in Las Vegas.
Paul replaces Derek Fisher, the veteran point guard whom Paul nearly succeeded with the Lakers in late 2011 before NBA Commissioner David Stern famously quashed a proposed trade involving the then-New Orleans Hornets.
Paul becomes the first superstar to hold the NBA players' association president's job since Patrick Ewing's term ended in 2001. He vowed to build consensus among players while growing the game on multiple fronts.
"I wouldn't have taken this job on if it was going to be me doing it alone," Paul said during a conference call. "The other guys on the executive committee are just as important as I am. There's not one guy who's bigger than the group."
Paul's election was a surprising development. Free-agent guard Roger Mason Jr., the only player to publicly announce his candidacy for the president's job, was instead elected first vice president.
Lakers guard Steve Blake and Charlotte Bobcats forward Anthony Tolliver were elected as vice presidents on the union's executive committee, replacing Paul and Mason.
Paul, 28, gives the union a charismatic and outspoken leader who has been active with the organization since his rookie season, when he was the players' representative for the Hornets. He served as a vice president on the executive committee the last four years.
"We have a young guy who is one of the faces of the league," said veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse, who resigned as first vice president to take an unspecified position with the union. "He's smart, he understands what's happening and the issues and the problems and things we have to do going forward."
Fisher's four-year term as union president is expiring after a tumultuous two-year stretch that included a lengthy lockout and the firing of executive director Billy Hunter, who was ousted in February amid allegations of nepotism and misuse of resources. Hunter later filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit accusing Fisher of conspiring with league officials during the 2011 lockout.
The union met Wednesday with a firm that will conduct the search for Hunter's replacement, a process that could take months.
"There's no rush," said Paul, who recently signed a five-year extension with the Clippers. "Obviously, we would love to get someone in that seat, but we want to make sure our house is in order and make sure we have everything in the right places so that the executive director can come in and hit the ground running."
Paul said the union is on solid footing despite the recent turmoil.
"Obviously, we're restructuring a few things just trying to make sure everything is set up properly," Paul said. "Everything is about checks and balances. … No one said it was going to be easy, but that's why we're in this position. We're excited about the road ahead."