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“This process has been long but we’re not in a rush,” vice president Roger Mason Jr. of the Miami Heat said.

Working with the executive search firm Reilly Partners, players said they began with a list of more than 200 candidates, but wouldn’t say how many remain or even if they should be considered finalists. Those who remained in the process were invited to the meeting Saturday and met with a group of about 30 players who attended.

Plans are being made to distribute a video of the meeting to additional players so they can fully informed about the candidates before one is eventually hired.

Hunter was voted out during last year’s All-Star meeting, shortly after an independent review of the union was critical of a number of his business decisions and hiring practices.

Secretary-treasurer James Jones, also of the Heat, refused to speculate if a replacement would be named by the start of next season, saying that “that would be giving a timeline and so we’re not into timelines.”

But Mason said players aren’t frustrated that a replacement hasn’t yet been chosen.

“It takes time but we haven’t heard any pushback on it taking too long,” he said. “We want to make this a thorough, transparent process and I think our players respect that.”


D-LEAGUE: Before the various challenges of NBA All-Star Saturday night got going, the best of the NBA Development League took the court in a temporary stadium set up in the city’s convention center.

The game was of particular interest to New Orleans NBA fans because of the presence of Idaho point guard Pierre Jackson, whose rights are controlled by the Pelicans.

Jackson is the D-League’s leading scorer, averaging 29.1 points, and he and his agent have been lobbying for the Pelicans to give the 2013 second-round draft choice out of Baylor a chance to play in the NBA this season.

His problem is the Pelicans already have three point guards on the roster: Jrue Holiday, Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers, though Holiday is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his shin.

On Saturday, Jackson led the Futures team with 30 points and eight assists, hitting six 3s and going 11 of 18 from the field. However, his squad lost to the Prospects team led by game MVP Robert Covington, who scored 33 points.

Jackson hoped his outing motivates Pelicans, who had several basketball operations executives and assistant coaches at the game, to give him his chance in the NBA.

“I’m waiting. The time’s going to come sooner or later,” Jackson said. “I’ve just got to stay positive and keep my head up.”

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