NBA players union places executive director Billy Hunter on indefinite leave

After a scathing internal review and a pending U.S. Attorney's office criminal investigation, the National Basketball Players Association has placed executive director Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Hunter was informed of the decision on Friday morning, and it is the first step in a process led by NBPA president Derek Fisher to have Hunter removed as executive director, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Union general counsel Ron Klempner has taken over as interim executive director.

Hunter's leave of absence is paid, a source told Yahoo! Sports.

As Yahoo! Sports reported recently, Hunter's current five-year, $15 million contract was signed without the needed approval of the union's player representatives. The union's leadership has retained outside counsel to help it through the suspension of Hunter, and plans to push the membership to oust Hunter, sources said.

[Related: Player reps never approved Billy Hunter's contract]

In a memo sent to players on Friday morning, Fisher said: "Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. 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."

Fisher will lead a new interim executive committee and advisory committee that will meet on All-Star weekend to start the process of reorganizing the union.

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