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Press Box: NBA players head earned $3 million

The SportsXchange

Billy Hunter, the National Basketball Players Association executive director, made $3 million in the last fiscal year, USA Today reported Saturday, citing NBPA documents filed with the United States Department of Labor.

That constitutes a $600,000 -- or 25 percent -- raise over the previous year.

The financing and spending practices of the NBPA have been scrutinized since last spring. Several members of Hunter's family were either on the payroll or employed with companies to which the union made payments.

Hunter's daughter, Robyn Hunter and his daughter-in-law Megan Inaba were on the union's payroll. Union payments went to Prim Capital, a financial services company where Hunter's son is partner; and a law firm, Steptoe and Johnson, which employs another of Hunter's daughters, Alexis Hunter.

Robyn, director of player benefits and concierge services earned $89,695. Inaba is the director of special events and sponsorships, made $167,100. The NBPA paid Prim Capital $594,900 and Steptoe and Johnson $1.367 million in the last fiscal year.

The scrutiny led the union to hire Theodore V. Wells Jr. and law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison for an independent review and financial audit. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan is also involved in an investigation.

Hunter declined an interview with USA Today through a spokesman. Hunter told The New York Times in April: "There's nothing illegal, and you're not going to find anything illegal, you or anybody else, if that's what you're looking for. I'm not afraid of that."

Hunter helped negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA in late November after a 149-day lockout last year.

National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith made $2.49 million from March 1, 2011 to Feb. 28, 2012. Former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, now deceased, was paid $4.26 million 2006-07, according to Department of Labor filings.

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner earned $1 million last year. Donald Fehr, who is now with the National Hockey Players' Association, was paid $1 million a year for several years when he held a similar title with the MLB players' union.

---Dallas Mavericks center Chris Kaman left the team's first training camp practice with a lower back injury, ESPN Dallas reported Saturday.

Coach Rick Carlisle the injury is not serious.

"We'll see how he's doing for tonight and tomorrow and go from there," Carlisle said.

Kaman, 30, has a history of injuries, though not with his back. He has missed a significant amount of time with ailments in four of the past five seasons, mainly with his left foot and ankle.

He signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Dallas this offseason.

The last season Kaman stayed healthy was in 2009-10, when he was an All-Star and averaged 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. For his career, he averages 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.

---Former Boston Celtics teammates Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are no longer on speaking terms, according to ESPN.com.

Garnett said he does not speak to Allen anymore since Allen left the Celtics for the Miami Heat in the offseason.

Allen responded to Garnett's comments Saturday.

"That's a shame," Allen said. "I'm a good person to talk to on the phone. ... I've been in weird trade situations the last few years. You always felt you had one foot in and one foot out so I can't worry about it."

Allen took less money from the Celtics to sign a two-year, $6 million free agent contract with the Heat. Boston reportedly offered Allen twice as much to retain him.

"I don't have Ray's number anymore," Garnett said. "I'm not trying to communicate. I'm just being honest with everybody in here. ... It's just what it is."

Garnett had lobbied hard to get Allen to stay in Boston. Allen said he still considers Garnett a friend.

"I don't know how many miles apart we are, sometimes the translation gets messed up," Allen said. "We're friends regardless of what happens. He's got to do what he's got to do up in Boston."

Miami hosts Boston to open the season Oct. 30.

---The Memphis Grizzlies signed free agents Michael Dunigan, Ronald Dupree, Jarrid Famous, Jerome Jordan and D.J. Kennedy, the team announced Saturday.

Memphis enters the first day of training camp Tuesday with 18 players.
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