Posted February 14, 2014

Report: Screen Actors Guild executive the favorite to be next leader of NBPA

Billy Hunter, David White, NBPA, Rob Mahoney
Since relieving Billy Hunter of his duties as executive director in 2013, the NBPA has yet to name a replacement. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Since relieving Billy Hunter of his duties as executive director in 2013, the NBPA has yet to name a replacement. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is reportedly looking outside of the basketball world for its new leadership. According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, David White — who since 2009 has served as executive director of the Screen Actors Guild — is now the favorite to assume the NBPA’s leading role most recently occupied by Billy Hunter.

The vote to remove Hunter from those duties took place at All-Star Weekend in 2013, as the event is one of the few occasions for player representatives and union leadership to meet during the course of the season. That said, Yahoo! reports that no vote regarding White is expected at this year’s All-Star festivities, though discussions of his candidacy will surely continue. Looming over this replacement process is Hunter’s ongoing suit against the NBPA for what he deems to be a breach of contract. Atop his shaky work in negotiating the NBA’s most recent collective bargaining agreement, Hunter was relieved of his duties after an independent audit conducted by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison detailed the employment of several of Hunter’s family members within the NBPA. According to the audit, members of Hunter’s family were paid $4.8 million by the NBPA between 2001 and 2013, prompting his placement on indefinite leave and eventual removal from office.

Per the New York Times, the NBPA is still responsible for paying the full $10.5 million owed to Hunter between 2013 and 2016.

Hiring White would allow the NBPA to turn the page on that particular saga, though the process of selecting a replacement has not gone without incident. Danny Schayes, a former NBA player himself and former executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, cast a light on the interview process involved in a piece for Sheridan Hoops:

• The actual search process started very close to the beginning of training camp. This timing guarantees that the players are at their most unavailable for the next 8 months. The advisors have virtual free reign over the process. By the way, there is no real reason that the hiring couldn’t be put off until the summer when the players have full availability.

• The initial “cuts” were made with little player involvement. After all, which player has time to go through a few hundred resumés? As a matter of fact, it is my understanding that virtually all former players, regardless of qualifications, were eliminated at this stage without so much as a single courtesy interview. In my case, my resume matched the job requirements exactly, my name was advanced by a top executive within the Association, and I was still eliminated. There was so much complaining that a small group of players, including myself, were reinstated.

• As the season is in full swing, it is difficult to get more than 3 players in the same location for interviews. Just the initial interview process should take months to be done thoroughly. Insider reports indicate that the search firm was pushing for final interviews when many candidates (including myself) had not been met with yet.

Although there are no immediately pressing issues facing the NBPA, either the union or the league may opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement following the 2016-17 season.

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