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Notes: Embattled NBA union leader goes on offensive

HOUSTON — Embattled NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter has taken to the Internet to present his case to remain in his post after he was not invited to Saturday’s union meeting here that is expected to determine his future as director.

Through a series of blog posts at http://gbillyhunter.blogspot.com, Hunter offered a rebuttal, stating that his contract is legal under Delaware law, where it was consummated; that he did not commit any illegal acts during his tenure, such as steal or embezzle funds; and that his administrative leave of absence was not fairly executed because the entire executive committee did not vote.

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The players association will meet Saturday afternoon, at which time representatives of every team are expected to voice their vote about whether Hunter should be removed. Hunter insists he has been banned from making a statement to the players at that gathering.

“We have been asking for two weeks if we can come. The message from the interim executive committee was you are not coming,” said Michael Carlinsky, one of Hunter’s attorney’s. “On every call I have raised this issue of attending with their lawyers and they have said consistently you can continue assuming you are not coming. How convenient it is for the lawyers now to be suggesting they have not definitely told us one way or other, where for two weeks we’ve been asking. This is just convenience on their side because we understood their message to be you can’t come.”

Experienced eye

Of the 993 regular-season games Sam Cassell played, 17 were with the Celtics, yet he is revered in Boston for his contributions to the 2008 NBA title team. Cassell was signed by the Celtics on March 3, 2008.

His effect was unquestionable, but he said it was a challenge being a midseason addition to a championship-caliber club and also playing for Doc Rivers, who told him immediately that his role would be as a complement.

Another player might find himself in a similar role this season as the Celtics are searching for acquisitions, albeit without the salary-cap flexibility or the trade asset to likely bring in a top-tier player.

“The Celtics is different,” Cassell said, speaking as a member of the Houston team in the Shooting Stars Competition. “Doc Rivers orchestrates everything. The first thing when you come to the Celtics, he’ll tell you, ‘This is your role on this team. On your last team, Sam, you was a 19-point [scorer], but on this team you’re not going to be a 19-point scorer.’ And when you tell guys their roles early and they understand what their role is, it’s cool.”

Class of their own

Three players and coaches with Celtics ties were included in the 12 nominees for induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

Nine-time All-Star Gary Payton, current University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, and, as a coach, two-time champ Tommy Heinsohn — who was inducted as a player in 1986 — are finalists The other finalists are players Tim Hardaway, Dawn Staley, Mitch Richmond, Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood, and Bernard King, and coaches Sylvia Hatchell, Guy Lewis, and Jerry Tarkanian. The inductees will be announced April 8.

Also announced as direct elects into the Hall by their respective committees were Roger Brown (ABA), Edwin B. Henderson (Early African American Pioneers), Oscar Schmidt (International), Richard Guerin (Veterans), and Russ Granik (Contributor).

New site unveiled

The NBA and software company SAP have teamed to form a new website (nba.com/stats) that will have every box score since the league’s inception in 1946-47, advanced shooting charts, lineup breakdowns, detailed analysis of the game’s statistics, and player pages. The website will be free . . . Comedian Kevin Hart, standing just 5 feet 2 inches tall, was named MVP of the All-Star celebrity game as the West beat the East, 58-38. Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, who played for the East, threw down a two-handed dunk — but he also lost a match race with Hart in which they each had to dribble and make two layups.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Baxter Holmes can be reached at baxter.holmes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes.
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