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Players union chief Hunter placed on leave

The SportsXchange

The NBA Players Association has placed executive director Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence.

Union lawyer Ron Klempner will be named acting executive director, the players association announced. Hunter was informed of the decision Friday morning, ESPN.com reported.

The union also said it is forming an interim executive committee and advisory committee made up of five members of the executive board in the wake of an independent investigation of the union's business practices under Hunter.

Hunter has come under fire for his management decisions and ethical questions surrounding investments and nepotism. He is a subject in oingoing criminal and civil investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and the the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In recent weeks, Hunter has defended himself, saying he broke no laws and promising to make amends. Among the changes was firing daughter Robyn Hunter and daughter-in-law Megan Inaba from union positions.

"Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA's only task, to serve the best interests of their membership," union president Derek Fisher said in a statement. "This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago. The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as players.

"Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the Committee Members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be. We ask for the cooperation, trust and patience of the players, their representatives and some of our hard working NBPA staff as we navigate through this situation. But rest assured that our goal is to do what is right for the players and we will emerge stronger than before."

Hunter's contract runs through 2015 with an option for 2016. His annual salary is $3 million.

Meetings are scheduled during All-Star Weekend later this month in Houston to determine the direction of the union and to give the players a voice in leadership decisions, ESPN.com reported.
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