The NBA Players Association has narrowed its search to replace former executive director Billy Hunter down to four, according to Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports. Isiah Thomas and former NBA coach and league executive Stu Jackson are among the top four candidates.
The other two top candidates are former Madison Square Garden executive Steve Mills and Charlotte Bobcats president Fred Whitfield. Mills has an excellent relationship with soon-to-be NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and he has been considered the frontrunner to be the next NBPA head for several months.
Sports attorney David Cornwell is also reportedly a long shot candidate for the job.
18-year NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse is leading the charge in making the hire, and he denies the NBPA has narrowed its options to a final four:
"I'm totally denying we are down to those four prospects," Stackhouse told me Sunday afternoon. "Those are just four well-known guys, guys who know our business, guys who have ideas we wanted to hear from. They are not the only guys we want the search firm to vet. I haven't even had a chance to talk with Fred Whitfield yet. I was planning to do that on Monday."
Stackhouse went on to say that the timetable for the decision will be between Christmas and NBA All-Star Weekend in February. Ideally, the new hire will be in place around the time Silver replaces David Stern as commissioner in mid-February.
The new executive director will attempt to clean up some of the mess left by Hunter, who was ousted in Febuary amid a scandal revolving around a long report that outlined some of his wrongdoings as NBPA head.