Kevin Johnson to lead search for NBPA head

NEW YORK (AP) Sacramento Mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson will lead a search committee to select a new executive director for the NBA Players Association.

The union has been seeking a replacement for Billy Hunter since ousting him in February 2013. The NBPA said Monday it expects to have one in place by the start of next season.

”Mayor Johnson is in a unique position as a former player and someone skilled in the politics of negotiations to lead this effort. We all witnessed his Herculean efforts to save his hometown Sacramento Kings from relocating, and I’m confident he’ll bring the same leadership to our search for a new executive director,” union president Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said in a statement.

Johnson will work with Paul and acting executive director Ron Klempner to keep players and agents aware of the process.

Hunter was removed shortly after an independent review of the union was critical of a number of his business decisions and hiring practices. The search to replace him has dragged on, and executive committee members said after their meeting during February’s All-Star break that they had no timetable and no urgency to make a hire.

They are hoping Johnson can help.

”I believe the NBPA can set the standard for player representation in all professional sports,” Johnson said. ”I thank President Chris Paul and the entire executive committee for the opportunity. Over the next few weeks I will be meeting with all of the player representatives and moving aggressively to build on the work that’s been done.”

Working with the executive search firm Reilly Partners, players said they began with a list of more than 200 candidates.

The union also said Atlanta’s Kyle Korver has been appointed to fill the vacancy on the executive committee and will serve as a vice president.