General manager resigns amid power struggle within franchise
POSTED: Apr 7, 2016 7:39 AM ET
Aldridge on Sam Hinkie Stepping Down
David Aldridge weighs-in on Sam Hinkie stepping down as the Sixers GM and President of Basketball Operations.
The Process is over.
The controversial three-year reign of Philadelphia 76ers president and general manager Sam Hinkie ended Wednesday with Hinkie's resignation, clearing the way for two-time NBA Executive of the Year Bryan Colangelo to assume the team's GM spot, where he'll work alongside his father, Jerry, who was given full authority over the team last December by majority owner Josh Harris as chairman of basketball operations.
In the end, according to sources, Hinkie was unwilling to accept a power-sharing arrangement the 76ers wanted to create going forward, with Hinkie still part of the team's decision-making structure. The idea was to have Hinkie and Bryan Colangelo work together -- to "marry them up," as was said Wednesday -- with Bryan Colangelo handling the job of working with agents and other teams that Hinkie struggled with over the last few years.
Agents and teams complained about his manner. Sources inside the 76ers' organization also indicated problems getting Hinkie to trust others outside a small circle of confidantes and employees he hired.
It was clear around the league that once Harris brought Jerry Colangelo in -- at the behest of the league, according to several sources, though Commissioner Adam Silver has denied any direct involvement -- that Colangelo had full authority over the franchise. League sources maintain that Harris had grown weary both of the criticism he (and Hinkie) had received the last couple of years, and by the lackluster on-court product.
Jerry Colangelo immediately made changes, including bringing in former Suns and Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni as associate head coach, pushing for the acquisition of point guard Ish Smith to solidify that position and signing veteran forward Elton Brand to help bring an experienced voice to the Sixers' locker room.
Bryan Colangelo, who won the NBA's Executive of the Year award in 2005 in Phoenix and two years later in Toronto, helped build the Suns' "seven seconds or less" offense around D'Antoni and two-time league MVP Steve Nash, and then acquired or drafted four of the five starters -- including All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan -- for the Raptors, who are in second place in the Eastern Conference and won 50 games for the first time in franchise history this year.
GameTime: Bob Cooney On Hinkie's Exit
Philadelphia Daily News' Bob Cooney joins GameTime to discuss the stepping down of the 76ers general manager and president of basketball operations, Sam Hinkie.
Bryan Colangelo has been trying to get back into the league since being fired as part of an organization shake-up in Toronto in 2014. He has been linked to management jobs in Detroit and, most recently, Brooklyn, which interviewed him twice before hiring Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks last month as general manager.
Bryan Colangelo was also part of a group, along with his father, that tried to buy the Atlanta Hawks last year before the team was sold to a group headed by billionaire Tony Ressler.
Hinkie came to Philadelphia in 2013 from Philadelphia with a mandate to take what had been a playoff team the previous two years down to the foundations in order to try and build a championship organization. Hinkie hired Brett Brown off the Spurs' bench as head coach, giving him a four-year deal (at Brown's insistence). The 76ers pushed the envelope in all areas of player development, monitoring their players' sleep patterns, exertions and seemingly anything else that could be measured or timed.
He always gambled on superstar potential at any opportunity. He drafted Joel Embiid out of Kansas with the third pick of the 2014 Draft after one year in college, even though Embiid was coming off of a foot injury that has kept him from playing a single minute in two NBA seasons. Hinkie traded for the Draft rights to forward Dario Saric, considered by many to be the top prospect in Europe. But Saric has stayed overseas the last two years, though he is expected to come to the 76ers next season.
The Starters: Colangelo Joins Sixers
Will Colangelo change the direction of the franchise?
Stateside, though, the 76ers were dreadful in terms of their on-court results.
Philadelphia was 47-195 (.194) in his two-plus seasons as GM, and was vilified throughout the league for its indifference -- or, as was more cynically suggested, desire -- to losing as many games as possible to try and improve its position in the Draft. The 76ers didn't make any attempt to sign free agents of significance, and didn't hesitate to move any players, including 2014 Kia Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams, in order to amass more picks.
Hinkie came to honor a three-word phrase -- "trust the process" -- which came to symbolize his controversial methods in Philly. He had lots of supporters in town, though it appeared more were frustrated and ultimately disillusioned by the plan. The 76ers' attendance has cratered the last three years; currently, according to ESPN.com, Philadelphia is 28th in the league in average home attendance (roughly 14,800 per game) after finishing 30th and 29th, respectively, the previous two seasons.
But Hinkie's maneuverings have produced a haul of future Draft picks, beginning this June, that could -- one way or the other -- reshape the franchise.
Philadelphia has its own pick, and as the 76ers are now assured of having the league's worst record, they'll have the best opportunity -- 25 percent -- of getting the first pick in the Draft. The 76ers can also swap first-round picks this year with Sacramento as part of a three-team deal last summer. They could also get the Lakers' first-round pick, depending on the results of the Lottery.
With Embiid expected to finally make his debut next season, after surgery and treatment programs that have sent him to Qatar, along with Saric, the potential Draft picks and significant cap room this summer, the 76ers are poised to dramatically reshape their roster going forward around center Nerlens Noel and 2015 first-rounder Jahlil Okafor --though Okafor's future in Philly is also up in the air after a series of off-court incidents marred his rookie season.
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