The partnership they had in the NBA Lockout is long gone and the loyalty has dissolved. Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBAPA, is pushing a vote to oust Derek Fisher as the Union President.
One of the reasons the lockout ended up being as extended as it was, was because of rumored in-fighting within the union. As the lockout got uglier and uglier, a rift began to grow between Fisher and his supporters and Hunter and his supporters. With news that Hunter is now trying to quickly organize a vote that would crush Fisher, the in-fighting appears to be as bad as we all assumed it was.
“He’s getting his way with the executive committee, but he doesn’t have as much broad support as he used to.” one agent told Yahoo! Sports.
This is storm that has been brewing for the better part of this month, and has boiled over from animosities from the lockout. The battle has escalated to a new level over the last week with Fisher initially convincing the executive committee to audit Hunter’s regime. That kicked off the escalating back and forth between the two camps with Hunter successfully shooting down the finical audit that Fisher proposed.
Hunter then had the very same executive committee vote for Fisher’s resignation, but Fisher responded by vehemently rejecting the idea of resignation stating that he’s going to instead fight for transparency in the NBPA. After he got wind of Hunter’s actions, he stepped up his efforts to gather a coalition of players to challenge Hunter and his business and finical practices.
In a memo Hunter sent to players on Friday, he stated that the audit that had been voted on had been cancelled.
“The executive committee recognized that the review was unnecessary since there had been a recent independent audit of the NBPA’s finances which raised no issues,” the memo said.
Hunter grew increasingly unpopular with players and agents during the lockout due to his leniency with the owners and the league. For this, the players gave up more then they were willing to in the labor talks, but the lockout was ended far sooner then it would have been. Players like Paul Pierce joined Fisher in what was looking like a possible mutiny during the lockout which introduced the greater public to the rift that is now a chasm between the NBPA and the Union.
Fisher still has two years left on his appointment as president and three years left on his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hunter convinced fellow players of Fisher –such as Chris Paul, Maurice Evans, Roger Mason, Kenyon Dooling and Matt Bonner– that Fisher’s attack on Hunter is not motivated by the bettering of the player’s but instead was started as a personal vendetta against Hunter.
There won’t be a strike by the players out of all this mess, but it shows that the wounds of the lockout are far from healed.