NBA players union could target ATF director as new executive director

In an attempt to restore its credibility and fortify itself against the owners in future labor negotiations, the search for the next executive director of the National Basketball Players Association will include one of the United States government's top law officials, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

As the NBPA prepares for the possibility of the league's players voting the union's current executive director, Billy Hunter, out of office, B. Todd Jones, the acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, will be a target should a change be made, sources said.

The NBPA will use an executive search firm to coordinate the process, sources said.

President Obama has been working to have Jones, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, confirmed as the full-time ATF director. Jones has served as the acting director of the ATF since the summer of 2011.

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After last month's release of a damning internal probe conducted by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the NBPA's executive committee placed Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence. Hunter's five-year, $15 million-plus contract was never brought to the team player representatives two years ago, a violation of the union constitution that Yahoo! Sports recently reported. Many legal expects believe Hunter's contract won't withstand a legal challenge.

NBPA president Derek Fisher, several prominent agents, executive committee members and player reps are pushing for a vote to oust Hunter over the Feb. 15-17 All-Star weekend in Houston. Even with an erosion of support, Hunter is still trying to find a way to hold onto his job.

Hunter has been the NBPA's executive director since 1996.

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