Union chief Billy Hunter placed on indefinite leave

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NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter has been placed on indefinite leave, the first step in removing the embattled union chief from his position.

The news comes from both Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and the NBC Sports Network.

Hunter has been temporarily replaced by union general counsel Ron Klempner.

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Bernucca column: Stupid is as stupid does

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By Chris Bernucca

This NBA lockout is a 12-inch stupid sandwich.

The owners have been stupid in believing they could get back in one negotiation everything they have given away over the last 12 years. The players have been stupid in underestimating the backlash from a fickle fan base hit hard by a nationwide economic malaise.

And both sides have been extremely stupid in coming close enough to shake hands, then refusing to with the childish insistence of “You first!”

It is another in a long-running series of stupid NBA acts which we have chronicled here –the 12 dumbest decisions in the 12 years since the last lockout in 1999. Just call ‘em the Dim-Witted Dozen.

No. 12. WHY STERN IS HATED IN ARIZONA: In the 2007 Western Conference finals, it was becoming evident that the Spurs could only hang with the Suns with rough stuff. Late in Game 4, Robert Horry hip-checked Steve Nash into the scorer’s table, touching off a benches-clearing incident that led to the Game 5 suspensions of Suns starters Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for coming off the bench to protect their star teammate. In defending his ruling, NBA VP Stu Jackson infamously said, “It’s not a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of correctness.” Jackson conveniently overlooked San Antonio’s Tim Duncan coming off his bench earlier in the same game. The shorthanded Suns lost the pivotal fifth game at home and the series. The Spurs went on to win the title.