Sixers Keep Boldly Moving Forward


VIDEO: Sixers GM Sam Hinkie talks about the team’s trade deadline moves

Sam Hinkie can’t yet put a pin in the exact place on the map, but he does know where he’s going.

Forward.

You might not like the speed. You might even turn your nose up at the route this season or the blighted scenery that will make up the rest of the schedule.

But you’ll have to admit it’s different — and in the long run preferable — to the hamster wheel that’s taken the 76ers nowhere fast for more than a decade.

That the first-year general manager chose to unload Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen for a pocketful of beans and expiring contracts was simply a continuation of the plan he’s been trying to execute from his first day on the job.

You can’t build something new and lasting on old ground if all you do is switch out the furniture and slap on a fresh coat of paint. That’s really all the Sixers had been doing since back in the days when Allen Iverson and Larry Brown were driving each other crazy all the way to the NBA Finals.

Over the past several years, all the Sixers could hang their jerseys on was a first-round upset of the Bulls in the 2012 that was only accomplished because Derrick Rose had crumpled in a heap.

What’s been needed for quite some time has been for somebody to come in and blow the whole thing up and start from scratch, disregarding all of the old ways and the ingrained local Philly network.

Hinkie has no problem being that guy.

When he finished at the trade deadline, Hinkie’s swapping had produced six second-round draft picks, five new players, a bundle of expiring contracts and $30 million in salary cap room for the summer.

It’s amazing how much fuss there was over letting go three members of a team with a 15-41 record. It’s mind-boggling that even a few folks might have been confused by Hinkie’s actions.

“I think all three of them are playing at a career-best level,” Hinkie told reporters at a news conference on Friday. “Sometimes it’s about the timing of the league. Some of those guys belong in a place. Evan is in Indiana. Indiana is going to be playing in at least May if not June, and this is a time for him to be there. And some of the things we took back are set for the future, or a second in this year’s draft or something else. Those are things that are more appropriate for where we are.

“We’re trying to acquire things that will help us move forward, and the net result of what happened is we picked up six additional second-round picks. Sometimes it’s the players you select, sometimes it’s the players you can trade for in using them, sometimes it’s the combining them to move other places to do other things.”

Of course, Hinkie already got the ball rolling last summer when he made the stunning deal that sent All-Star Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel, who has not yet played, and then used the No. 11 pick in the draft to pluck Michael Carter-Williams, who appears to be an elite point guard for the next decade.

The Sixers have the potential for a pick in the top three of this year’s draft and another in the top 12, coming from New Orleans, along with all the second-round picks.

“I think it’ll make our phone ring, for one,” Hinkie said. “And I think it’ll give us choices.”

Sure, it might require covering your eyes if you happen to be forced into the Wells Fargo Center anytime between now and April, and you might not like the NBA system that almost demands a stripping of all assets as the quickest and most prudent way to start over. But it is the system, and in the end, the idea is to work within it. Hinkie’s old boss Daryl Morey and former team owner Leslie Alexander in Houston chose not to hit rock bottom, yet over the past 17 seasons the Rockets have only one playoff series win while constantly reshuffling their deck. Now the Rockets have Dwight Howard and James Harden, but was it worth nearly two decades of tap dancing in mediocrity? The path by Hinkie could and should be shorter to rebirth.

“You often don’t know, so you don’t know how it might play out, and you don’t know what might be available,” Hinkie said. “Lots of things come across the transom, lots of things you look at. It’s part of what we try to do, to have a lot of interesting opportunities to look at. It’s important.

“I think many years will come and go where you’ll have lots of opportunities and you’ll say no to all of them, and it will look like nothing happened because nothing actually transpired. This year, enough things came along that were interesting. I would say that some of the picks — people sort of lump picks together, ‘Aw, it’s just a second’ — some of the picks are quite interesting, some of the picks are quite high and could be even higher. That has real value.

“I think as we get close to the draft, the talent evaluators all start to downplay expectations, ‘Oh, it’s not quite as good as we thought.’ It looks quite strong. All the best teams have been built around great players. Great players. And we’re going to be particularly focused on that for a while in finding great players who can lead us forward.”

Someway, somehow. Which is better than continuing to run in circles.

16 Comments

  1. lbjairk says:

    moving forward won’t bring you a title sixers, you need to join the king lebron, we trade your entire team roster for norris cole ans shane battier

  2. Connorf says:

    Sixers keep boldly moving backwards. Second round draft picks don’t have the value of first round picks, nor the quality. You can’t build a championship team from second round draft picks and trading away your best players. What free agents would want to come to a team built on second round draft picks?

  3. mogs says:

    Great moves imho. And ballsy. Sure it’s a blow losing Turner but ceiling not too much higher at least at 76ers. Short term return minimal but looking forward gives them room to move on future free agents or quality players packaged w big contracts that others need moved. Makes the 76ers one of the more exciting teams to keep an eye on in the next couple of years. Another first round wldve been ideal but can’t complain as they can at least fill out bench or trades.

    Also 2 lottery picks in this yars draft very exciting if goes their way

  4. Alex says:

    Wish turner and hawes the best but like he said, you can’t really complain about trading people from a team that’s playing terribly. They were both pretty inconsistent. Hoping we can get a nice SG or SF. Haven’t had a nice shooting guard in years

  5. Alex says:

    I’m a Sixers fan and I love everything about this. Only people we need to keep are mcw, noel, and young. Lavoy is nice it would have been nice to have been able to keep him too. Glad that we have a coach from San Antonio’s system and mcw has exceeded everyone’s expectations. I think there’s a chance we will already make .500 next year or maybe 35-47 but i still give it 2 or 3 years for the playoffs

  6. jackie b says:

    I am starting to think Hinkie is not this genius after all. Although he got value for Hawes, he got absolutely nothing for Turner and rewarded Turner by trading him to a team he could get a ring on. I give him a B on Hawes, and a F- on the Turner trade.

  7. jackie b says:

    If all of a sudden Turner starts getting call after call from his drives to the basket, I will know 100% the NBA is rigged.

  8. ericks8945 says:

    First of all Houston did not field a mediocre team for two decades. Yao Ming and McGrady were contender quality team, just could not stay healthy. That is not on the GM, that is pure bad luck. Hinckie make since, no use to just to field average young players just because they are young. The NBA is about stars not youth. The goal in todays game is to find a trio of stars. So you keep making moves in hopes of finding a star via draft, trade or free agency.

  9. Chris B says:

    I think it’s great what he is doing. It’s about time! Four lottery picks in two yrs and a ton of salary cap space… Who wouldn’t be excited about that?!?! They also might be able to package some of those 2nds with the pick they get from the Pelicans and move up a little bit in the draft. Other than 2001, the Sixers have been terrible since 1983. It’s been a long time coming and there is finally a buzz and excitement surrounding Sixer basketball! I’ll take it!

  10. Fur says:

    The team before trades wasnt bad at all. And the next season with Noel playing C, and Spencer on the power forward position could be very good. In case they are lucky of acquiring a solid SG on draft. All they needed was a solid bench. Solid MCW backup. I just hope Thad isnt going nowhere

  11. Bird33 says:

    Thank you Sam Hinkie for confirming at least one of my NBA bets lol

  12. OKC says:

    It will be a process but their GM has shown he has an eye for potential when he drafted MCW at 11th (who would go in the top 3 if you had the draft today), snagged Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans first round pick for Jrue Holiday which was considered by many GMs to be the worst move of the summer by the Pelicans, and also when he choose to ship out Hawes and Evans but kept Thad Young.

  13. 1forest1 says:

    Morey didn’t come on board till 2007, when Yao and Tracy were being plagued with injuries. After Yao finally retired, and a few mediocre seasons, the Rockets were actually ready to tank last year almost as bad as Hinkie is doing now. They nearly got rid of their whole roster. The only players they kept were Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons, and Patrick Patterson. However, when they got James Harden they didn’t need to tank anymore

  14. okc2014 says:

    I don’t concur.

  15. they want to keep rebuilding with younger players ALA OKC style…since they already have MCW and Nerlens Noel…I surely can see a bright future for the 76ers