Don’t let the headlines fool you.
When the Philadelphia 76ers brought in former owner of the Phoenix Suns and longtime Director of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, the clock started ticking on the incumbent GM, Sam Hinkie. Today Hinkie penned a letter to 76ers’ stakeholders telling them he would be stepping down from that role. But if you read into this a little more, it becomes pretty clear that this choice was made for Hinkie, and not the other way around.
Jerry Colangelo was hired about four months ago in December 2015. This week there were reports that Bryan Colangelo, Jerry’s son, was in advanced talks with the Sixers on a contract for a front office position. Where would that leave Hinkie? Apparently, in his mind, it would leave him in a real shitty situation. In one paragraph of his 13-page resignation letter to the Sixers’ ownership group, Hinkie says, “Given all the changes to our organization, I no longer have the confidence that I can make good decisions on behalf of investors in the Sixers.” To me it sounds like he was frozen out. So he got out of there. And then Bryan was hired.
Can’t say I blame poor Sam. But there’s no way he would leave this situation if not for the presence of House Colangelo. This is his third season with the team. The record on the court has been dreadful, but that was by design. In the NBA, absent of a big free agent signing, you have to be really terrible to get really good. And no one has done a better job of that than Hinkie has (except for maybe Danny Ainge via Billy King, but that’s a wholeee ‘nother story). The Sixers could potentially have four first round draft picks this June. Not a bad spot to be in.
But to whoever is in charge of that organization – why now? For three years you’ve sold fans on Hinkie’s “process”. And now you’re going to faze the guy out, when things are finally starting to look promising, and bring in a father-son duo who haven’t done anything noteworthy in the modern NBA other than sign Steve Nash in 2004 in Phoenix? A move that was only made possible after Bryan Colangelo traded Jason Kidd in his prime for Stephon Marbury? Brilliant.
Maybe there were other factors at play that the public will never know about. Hinkie certainly wasn’t going to throw anyone under the bus – he’s trying to get another job. But if you’re a fan of this team, or any other organization that makes hasty front office changes, are you hopeful the new group will continue with the “process”, or does it feel like another reset?