With a key hearing approaching in Billy Hunter's lawsuit against the National Basketball Players Association, the union has hired one of the defendants in the civil case: Derek Fisher's former business manager, Jamie Wior, three people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.
Wior and Fisher, the former union president, are co-defendants in a lawsuit that Hunter filed against the NBPA for wrongful termination. The lawsuit, which has been moved from Oakland, Calif., to Los Angeles, crosses the next legal hurdle this week with a hearing in LA Superior Court on the defendants' motion to dismiss.
Wior played a behind-the-scenes role in the 2011 lockout while serving as Fisher's Los Angeles-based publicist and business manager. A chasm developed between Fisher and Hunter, resulting in Fisher drawing attention to what he believed were improper business practices during Hunter's tenure.
Hunter was unanimously voted out as the union's executive director in February 2013 on the heels of a damning report by a New York law firm. The report highlighted Hunter's acts of nepotism and accused him of improper business dealings and putting his own interests ahead of the union's. In May, Hunter sued the NBPA, Fisher and Wior for breach of contract and defamation. He is seeking at least $10.5 million in salary and benefits he was owed at the time of his ouster. Among other things, Hunter, 71, alleged that Wior conspired with Fisher to oust him as director and "vest control of the union."
Less than a year after Hunter filed his lawsuit, Wior has been retained on a temporary basis to assist with the NBPA's winter meeting during All-Star weekend in New Orleans next month. While her involvement in union business is nothing new, the NBPA's decision to retain her again is a sign that Fisher's influence in union matters has outlasted his term as NBPA president and executive committee member. Fisher was replaced as president by Chris Paul in August 2013.
The NBPA has not announced Wior's hiring, as it is not customary for the union to publicly divulge who it retains in non-staff positions. And while Wior no longer works for Fisher, the union's decision to retain her nonetheless shines a new light on one of the key areas of concern about Hunter's tenure: hiring practices.
Meanwhile, the union continues to work with the Chicago-based executive search firm, Reilly Partners, in its search for a new executive director. Candidates are still being vetted, and the process has not yet reached the finalist stage, sources said.