Since then several high-profile players and their agentsincluding former Manatt, Phelps & Phillips partner Art Tellemhave called on the union to fire Hunter. Should players heed that call, it could take several months to find a new executive director.
Potential replacements mentioned in recent media reports include B. Todd Jones, a U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota who is also serving as acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and Donald Fehr, the current head of the National Hockey League Players Association. (After the NHLPA ousted Fehr's predecessor Paul Kellywho was hired by Jackson Lewis last yearthe union eventually paid him $1.5 million in compensation and covered $200,000 in attorney fees to settle a dispute over the dismissal.)
One individual not interested in the position is the union's longtime outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler, a former former head of the global litigation group and cohead of the sports litigation practice at now-defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf. Kessler, who has advised the NBPA for nearly 30 years, left Dewey in its death throes last May and took 60 lawyers with him to Winston & Strawn. A source familiar with the matter says Kessler is not interested in an executive leadership position at the NBPA.
Kessler was mentioned sparingly in the Paul Weiss report, which stated that Hunter should have listened to him more instead of deferring to firms like Howrey and Steptoe & Johnson, both of which employed one of his daughters, Alexis Hunter. (Kessler declined to comment when asked earlier this week about a former client of hisSouth African double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistoriuswho has been accused of murdering his girlfriend.)
In other NBArelated legal news, former Proskauer Rose partner and current league commissioner David Stern announced last week that an ownership group seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings for $525 million and move them to Seattle had filed relocation papers ahead of a March 1 deadline.
The Am Law Daily reported last month on the host of Am Law 100 firms involved in the potential deal, which could bring NBA basketball back to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2008.