HoopsHype NBPA rumors
Billy Hunter, the ousted former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has identified Kobe Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, as the power brokers who pushed him to accept a 50-50 labor deal that Hunter claims was negotiated behind his back during the 2011 lockout. In a 21-page court filing this week in Hunter's lawsuit against the NBPA, its former president, Derek Fisher, and his business manager, Jamie Wior, Hunter laid out the case for how he believes he was sandbagged by Fisher during the labor talks. Hunter is alleging defamation and breach of contract in the lawsuit, and Fisher's alleged role in a so-called secret deal with the owners to end the lockout would be relevant if Fisher usurped Hunter's authority as the sole bargaining agent for the players under the NBPA's by-laws. CBSSports.com
Hunter then makes a leap in his declaration to the court, characterizing Bryant's phone call as evidence that Fisher had cut a 50-50 deal with the owners without Hunter's knowledge or authority. "What Bryant and Pelinka were telling me is that a 50-50 deal had already been completed behind my back," Hunter wrote. CBSSports.com
Reuben R. McDaniel III, an investment banker and chairman of the Atlanta Public Schools board, is among those being considered to succeed Billy Hunter as executive director of the NBA players union. The 52-year-old McDaniel said yesterday he has been screened by an executive at Reilly Partners, the Chicago-based executive search firm hired by the National Basketball Players Association to find Hunter’s successor. “I’m certainly interested in the opportunity, but it’s very early in the process,” McDaniel said in a telephone interview. Bloomberg
The 72-year-old founder of a firm that handled the NBA players union's investments and finances has admitted to fraud. Prosecutors say Joseph Lombardo, the founder of Ohio-based Prim Capital Corporation, pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court Thursday to mail fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Authorities say Lombardo used a stamp to forge the signature of a deceased general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association and another employee, a move that awarded Prim a $3 million fee over five years. ABC News
How much has the new collective bargaining agreement benefited the owners? One league source said several teams are already projecting profits without knowing what their attendance figures will be this season, and at least one of those teams is assuredly destined to be in the lottery. Bleacher Report
Still, it’s not all sunshine from Silver. “I’m looking at Jeff Kessler. And Ron [Klempner],” he said of the NBA players union legal counsel and interim executive director—both seated in the front row at Tuesday’s event—when discussing the prospect of HGH testing in the NBA. BusinessWeek.com
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