SBJ/Oct. 14-20, 2013/Labor and Agents

Paul: ‘Don’t want to rush’ picking leader

There is no time frame for finding a new National Basketball Players Association executive director, union officials said last week.

“We don’t want to rush it,” newly elected NBPA President Chris Paul said in a brief interview. “We want the search to take its course, and we are not ruling anybody out as far as applying for the job.”

Both Paul and Ron Klempner, NBPA acting executive director, said they want to involve as many players as possible in finding a new executive director to succeed Billy Hunter, who was fired in February after a union-commissioned report found that he had acted in his own interests and against the interests of players.

There has been speculation that NBA players could make a decision at February’s All-Star Game weekend in New Orleans, when many of them could participate in the process.

“That is a possibility, there’s no doubt about it, but we don’t want to commit to that because we are going to allow the process to play itself out,” Klempner said. “We want to make sure the players have the time to fully consider anyone who is a viable candidate.”

Since Hunter’s departure, several names have surfaced as possible successors, but neither Paul nor Klempner would comment on specific names.

One person who is out of the running is longtime basketball executive Steve Mills, who was named president and general manager of the New York Knicks last month. Mills confirmed in a text to SportsBusiness Journal that his new position removes him from consideration for the executive director position. “Yes, I am out,” Mills wrote.

— Liz Mullen

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