Billy Hunter addresses the media after a labor negotiation in the summer… (Mary Altaffer / Associated…)
The National Basketball Players Assn. put chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave Friday, two weeks after a report the union commissioned questioned Hunter's leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices.
The union is forming an interim executive committee and an advisory committee, the group's president, Derek Fisher, said in a statement released Friday. An outside attorney is also being hired as players begin moving forward, likely without the man who has guided them since 1996.
Fisher pushed for the outside review of Hunter and the union. That examination by a New York law firm found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and recommended players discuss whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings.
"Because of the unusual circumstances at the union, a result of mismanagement extensively documented by the Paul, Weiss report, the committees have decided to take immediate actions that allow them to assess the situation fully and build a stronger, more effective organization that better represents their membership," the statement released through Fisher's publicist said.
Released Jan. 17 after an eight-month review, the report found that Hunter was aware his $3-million-per-year contract was never properly approved. It also criticized his hiring of family members and friends, and said there were other conflicts of interests he should have avoided.
Fisher's statement said that because of the ongoing investigations being conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. attorney's office, the players wanted the executive committee to take steps to protect them.
Union attorney Ron Klempner will be the acting executive director.
Hunter, 70, has said he looks forward to continuing in his position and recently made changes based on the review's findings such as instituting an anti-nepotism policy. He fired his daughter, Robyn, announced daughter-in-law Megan Inaba would leave after the All-Star game, and said the union would no longer use a financial institution that employs his son.
Boston Celtics first-round draft choice Jared Sullinger had back surgery on Friday and will miss the rest of the season. The team said Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disc surgery. He is expected to be ready in time for next season's training camp.
The announcement comes five days after All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was diagnosed with a torn ACL that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
Isner, Querrey win Davis Cup matches versus Brazil
John Isner and Sam Querrey each won their matches to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup at Jacksonville, Fla.
Isner defeated Brazil's Thiago Alves, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Querrey earned a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.
The United States is one win away from advancing. Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's No. 1-ranked doubles team, will take on Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares on Saturday, followed by Sunday's reverse singles.
Taking 2-0 leads in other first-round series were: Serbia (over Belgium), France (over Israel), Kazakhstan (over Austria) and Argentina (over Germany). Tied 1-1 were Switzerland-Czech Republic and Croatia-Italy. The other series is Canada vs. Spain.