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Sam Hinkie On Colangelo, Marshall, Free Agents

GM Sam Hinkie pledged to remain with the Sixers, quelling rumors that he’s looking to leave the organization following the arrival of Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations, as Hinkie said as part of an in-depth interview with Zach Lowe of “Our owners made it very clear they want me leading us long-term,” Hinkie said. “Adding one more voice will make the conversation richer. Might it be challenging at times? I’m sure it will be. But making big decisions shouldn’t be easy — it shouldn’t be that you have an idea, and you get to execute it without anyone questioning it.” The entire interview is certainly worth a read, and below are some of the highlights:

  • The GM said the team was off in its prediction that Kendall Marshall would be ready to play on opening night, with the point guard finally set to make his season debut this evening, Lowe relays. “We predicted it wrong,” Hinkie said. “That’s my fault. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I’m sure I’ll make more.”
  • The Sixers believe Marshall can provide veteran leadership for younger players like Jahlil Okafor, as well as stabilize the point guard position, Lowe notes. “This has been hard,” Hinkie says. “We haven’t been proud of this kind of start. We had strong desires for a point guard who could help us play at a high tempo, and get our best players the ball in positions where they could be successful. We want someone to throw a post entry pass. We thought Kendall was that guy.
  • Discussing why he has eschewed signing free agents who would have cost more, but likely would have helped the team win more games in the short term, in favor of adding younger players making the minimum salary, Hinkie told Lowe, “We could have chosen safer options. Many in the world would have us choose safer options — keep this player, instead of taking a gamble on a player whose name you don’t know. But when that player becomes Robert Covington, people are excited. We’ve chosen that sort of thing very often.
  • Hinkie acknowledged to Lowe that the Sixers reached out to free agents Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler this past summer, but the lack of an existing star player hamstrung those efforts. “The most challenging part is to go from zero stars to one,” Hinkie said. “After the Clippers got Blake Griffin, Chris Paul is a possibility. After the Rockets had James Harden, Dwight Howard is a possibility. After the Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, LeBron coming back is a possibility.
  • The GM stands by the organization’s decision to select Joel Embiid and Dario Saric during the 2014 NBA draft, despite the knowledge that the duo would not be immediately available to contribute, Lowe notes. “That night showed tremendous courage on the part of our organization to have a longer view, and to do everything we could to get the best players,” Hinkie told the ESPN scribe. “Those were not easy decisions.”
  • Hinkie also maintains that the team selected point guard Elfrid Payton with every intention of keeping him, and that it wasn’t a move designed to pry assets away from the Magic, who were known to be high on Payton entering the draft, Lowe relays. “That’s such a high-stakes gamble that it strikes me as reckless,” said Hinkie. “I’m a lot of things, but I’m not reckless.

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