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Sam Hinkie

Sam Hinkie Mulling Return To NBA In 2017

In a wide-ranging and fascinating interview with Sam Hinkie, Chris Ballard of SI.com explores what the former Philadelphia general manager has been up to since departing the Sixers earlier this year, and suggests that a return to the NBA could be in the cards for Hinkie in 2017. According to Ballard, Hinkie seemed “unsure” in October about whether or not he’d seek out another NBA job, but now appears more certain that he’ll eventually return to the league.

“I think the world probably assumes that I’m recharging and unplugging, and there’s a little of that,” Hinkie said. “This will get me in trouble if I say it, but I think I’m mostly sharpening the sword to come back.”

During his time in Philadelphia, Hinkie engaged in an unprecedented all-out rebuilding process, which resulted in just 47 total wins in three seasons for the Sixers. During that time, the team rid itself of bad contracts and added several promising prospects, including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric, and Joel Embiid. Of course, it wasn’t until after Hinkie’s departure that Embiid made his debut and the Sixers finally landed a No. 1 overall pick, snagging Ben Simmons.

As Ballard writes, Hinkie has been informally approached by “a couple” teams since the spring about potential opportunities, but his agreement with the Sixers still features a non-compete clause. The former 76ers GM won’t have an idea of what the market looks like for him until that non-compete expires at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Speaking to about a half-dozen NBA general managers and executives – including Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who worked with Hinkie in Houston – Ballard found that Hinkie is still held in high regard by many people around the league. Morey indicated that he’d hire his old assistant GM back in a similar role “in a second,” but admitted that Hinkie might not be interested in such a position. For his part, Hinkie will likely remain patient and wait for the right opportunity rather than rushing into a new job next summer, as he tells Ballard.

“I care much more about my life than the likelihood of being employed by next season,” Hinkie said. “The things you learn well compound over time. I’m going to do what I can to stay relevant and dangerous in regards to 2017. But I’m super-focused on what life will look like in 2027 and 2037 and how I can plant seeds now that bear fruit by then, if not before.”

Sixers Notes: Hinkie, Noel, Okafor, Embiid

Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie will take at least a year away from basketball to teach at Stanford, he tweeted today. Hinkie, who resigned from the team in April, sent out a series of tweets discussing his present and future. He called this a “gap year,” but didn’t speculate on whether he hopes to return to the NBA (Twitter link). Hinkie, who spent three years in Philadelphia’s front office, refused to comment further on the tweets when contacted by Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, a Deadspin report suggests the former GM will be a guest speaker for one or more Stanford classes, rather than actually becoming a faculty member.

There’s more Sixers news this evening:

  • Nerlens Noel is the most likely player to be traded to ease the logjam in the Sixers’ frontcourt, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In a series of predictions for the upcoming season, Cooney says it’s a close call between Noel and center Jahlil Okafor, but he suggests that Noel will be sent elsewhere before the trading deadline in February. Cooney also predicts that a minutes restriction on Joel Embiid will last until about Christmas, that rookie Ben Simmons will start right away and lead the team in minutes played, that Dario Saric will need time to adjust to the NBA but will claim a greater role as the season wears on and that Philadelphia will win 27 games, up 10 from a year ago.
  • The Sixers should consider trading both Noel and Okafor, according to Zach Harper of CBSSports.com. Harper suggests Philadelphia could get a nice return for Noel right now and then deal Okafor next spring or summer to a team that gets disappointed in the draft lottery. If Embiid’s health holds up, Harper states that he and Simmons could be the building blocks of a contender. The writer lists the Celtics, Pelicans, Timberwolves and Rockets as possible destinations for Noel, and the Lakers as the best option for Okafor.

Sixers Notes: Hinkie, Simmons, Saric, Brown

The often-ridiculed “Process” is playing out in Philadelphia just the way former GM Sam Hinkie envisioned, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hinkie, who resigned in April, suffered through three years of losing but left the team with a large collection of draft picks and young players who have a chance to turn around the Sixers’ fortunes quickly. Two pieces of Hinkie’s plan fell into place recently when Dario Saric left his Turkish team to sign with Philadelphia and Joel Embiid, a 2014 draft pick who has yet to play in the NBA because of injuries, was medially cleared to begin five-on-five basketball. “You have to give a lot of credit to Sam Hinkie for the recent developments that have happened,” coach Brett Brown said. “I will also say that [team president] Bryan Colangelo has done two things in my eyes. He’s jumped into this in a very selfless way and giving credit where credit is due in relation to Sam.”

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • No. 1 pick Ben Simmons says the Sixers are a “perfect” team for him, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Simmons has known new teammates Embiid and Jahlil Okafor since high school and thinks it will be easy to develop chemistry with them. Both players traveled to Las Vegas to cheer on the Summer League team, which gave the franchise its first look at Simmons in a Sixers uniform. “We are just going to develop him as we have done with everybody else,” said Summer League coach Lloyd Pierce. “We are going to take our time, be very patient with his growth and try not to give him too much. There are a lot of expectations on him already, but we are going to be very diligent with him and give him an opportunity to grow.”
  • Saric was surprised by the greeting he received Thursday when his flight landed in Philadelphia and a group of fans and media members met him at the airport, writes Brian Seltzer of NBA.com. Sixers fans have been waiting two years to get a glimpse of Saric after the team acquired his rights in a 2014 draft day deal with Orlando. Saric exercised his buyout clause with Anadolu Efes in Turkey and signed with Philadelphia on Friday. “I didn’t know that people would say welcome to me that way,” Saric said of his greeting. “I’m happy because the city is happy that I’m here.”
  • Brown sees Simmons and Saric as similar players and says it will be up to the coaching staff to blend their talents together, Pompey notes in a separate story. “They are two really good players,” Brown said. “So how this plays out, how we take shape, I think this a good challenge, and one that we are excited to learn more about.”

Atlantic Notes: Biyombo, Joseph, Celtics, Hinkie

Bismack Biyombo‘s free agency stock is rising after a 26-rebound, four-block performance Saturday night, relates Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Biyombo, who added seven points as Toronto topped Cleveland in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, is taking advantage of increased playing time since starting center Jonas Valanciunas was sidelined with a badly sprained ankle. After Saturday’s game, Raptors coach Dwane Casey compared Biyombo to a rebounding legend. “He reminds me of a guy like [Dennis] Rodman going for the rebounds,” Casey said. “He knows where the ball is coming off, he has a sense of where it’s coming off, and he does a good job doing that.” Biyombo has a $3MM player option for next season, but much larger offers will almost certainly be waiting if he decides to opt out.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Another key to Saturday’s win was backup point guard Cory Joseph, writes Chris O’Leary of The Toronto Star. Joseph contributed 14 points, five rebounds and three assists as starter Kyle Lowry got into early foul trouble. It’s what the Raptors were hoping for when they signed the former Spur to a four-year, $30MM deal last summer in an effort to improve their bench.
  • All the focus is on the Celtics’ third overall pick, but the team has two more selections in the first round, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Boston owns the rights to Dallas’ pick at No. 16, along with its own choice at No. 23, giving team officials a wide range of players to scout for draft night. “The higher the draft pick, you just have a better chance,” said Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel. “There’s going to be really good players available at 16. There’s going to be really good players available at 23. It’s just harder to identify in that range.”
  • Getting the top pick in the draft validated former GM Sam Hinkie’s approach, but the Sixers will benefit from replacing him, contends Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Berger admits that Hinkie, who resigned last month, left behind a bright future in Philadelphia. But he also points out that Hinkie damaged the team’s reputation with free agents through three years of losing, the second-round picks he accumulated have produced very little talent and the roughly $50MM in cap room the Sixers possess is undervalued because the escalating salary cap means virtually every team will have money to spend this summer.

Atlantic Rumors: Hornacek, Brown, Hinkie, Embiid

Running the triangle may not be a job requirement for Jeff Hornacek if he becomes the next coach of the Knicks, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Hornacek’s teams in Phoenix were at their best when he was using a two point guard approach and playing at a fast pace. During an appearance tonight on Sirius XM Radio, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said team president Phil Jackson is willing to be flexible with his favorite offense. “The things I’ve heard is that he’s not going to be required to run the triangle,” Van Gundy said. “Which is smart from the standpoint that he’s never taught it before. So you don’t want to come in trying what you’ve never played in or taught. I’m interested in that. But I think it’s an inspired choice.” Bondy notes that Jackson has been a fan of Hornacek for some time, as he tried to acquire him as a player for the Bulls in 1994.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown told Chris Mannix of The Vertical that he expects to see former GM Sam Hinkie back in the NBA soon. Appearing on The Chris Mannix Show podcast, Brown credited Hinkie with helping to build a bright future in Philadelphia. Brown said Joel Embiid is “doing great” both from an attitude and a physical perspective, and the Sixers are optimistic that he can play next season, although no decision has been made about summer league.
  • GM Bryan Colangelo turned down the Sixers when they first asked him about taking the job, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. He didn’t change his mind until six weeks later, when team owners explained the different direction they were hoping to take.
  • If getting the No. 3 pick in the draft gives the Celtics an opportunity to trade for Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, they should jump at the chance, contends Gary Tanguay of CSNNE. Tanguay commented on a rumor that Philadelphia would be willing to give up Okafor in exchange for the pick so it can take Providence point guard Kris Dunn. The writer thinks Okafor would improve dramatically in Boston because the Celtics have a better coach in Brad Stevens and players who would do a better job of getting him the ball in the low post.

Eastern Rumors: Bulls, Celtics, Pistons, Sixers

Bulls GM Gar Forman wouldn’t rule out the idea of trading Jimmy Butler when asked Wednesday night, notes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Both Forman and Executive VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson made it clear no one on the roster is truly off-limits for a trade, Johnson writes, and changes are coming to coach Fred Hoiberg‘s coaching staff, sources tell Johnson. Still, Hoiberg will be sticking around, Paxson confirmed, according to Johnson, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf issued a statement backing Forman and Paxson. Paxson confirmed the Bulls would like to re-sign Joakim Noah, Johnson also notes.

See more from Chicago amid news from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics refused to give up Jae Crowder in trade talks with the Bulls before the deadline, scuttling any realistic possibility of a trade, league sources tell Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago. Jimmy Butler‘s name reportedly was the center of those discussions, though Goodwill hears they spoke with teams about Derrick Rose and confirms earlier reports that they had Pau Gasol trade talks, too.
  • The Bulls were on board with a trade that would have involved Pau Gasol, Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich going out and Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore coming in from the Kings, but Sacramento withdrew from those talks when the Sixers, who were to be included as a third team, insisted the Kings relinquish a second-round pick, Goodwill hears. Sacramento was also reluctant to give into the Bulls’ desire to reduce the top-10 protection on the 2016 first-rounder the Kings owe them, according to Goodwill.
  • The Cavaliers made it a priority to sign a perimeter defender like Dahntay Jones as insurance for Iman Shumpert instead of a point guard to offset the injury to Mo Williams because they envision LeBron James running the point in a pinch, accoriding to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The Cavs inked Jones earlier today as Williams reportedly headed to New York for further examination on his sore left knee.
  • Coach Brett Brown said the replacement of GM Sam Hinkie with new president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo won’t result in a change to the team’s playing style, and he called for the front office to focus on strong defenders and veteran big men as they seek offseason upgrades, observes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown also spoke highly of Elton Brand, Pompey notes. Brand is heading back into free agency and isn’t sure he’ll keep playing.

Sixers Notes: Turner, Hinkie, Embiid, Colangelo

Ex-Sixer Evan Turner is defending former Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie, who resigned Wednesday, writes Jay King of MassLive. Turner, now with the Celtics, spent nearly four years in Philadelphia before being traded to Indiana in 2014. He didn’t read Hinkie’s 13-page resignation letter but says he understood what the former executive was trying to accomplish. “One thing I didn’t know was [how well they’re set up for the draft],” Turner said. “That’s somewhat ingenious. That could set them up great for the future. It’s just in the NBA, I don’t know what he had with [76ers owner] Josh Harris, but typically jobs, unless you’re a legend, jobs don’t last seven or eight years for a plan. I think if it does work out then he did set them up great, you know?” Philadelphia, which has clinched the top spot in Hoops Rumors’ reverse standings, will have its own first-round pick in June, along with the Heat’s, the Thunder’s and the Lakers’ if it falls out of the top three.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Turner still believes great things are ahead for Sixers center Joel Embiid, King writes in the same piece. Philadelphia took Embiid third overall in the 2014 draft, but a string of injuries has prevented him from playing. Calling him possibly the “next [Hakeem] Olajuwon,” Turner recalls watching Embiid in an early workout. “The kid went in-between-the-legs dunk at 7-feet,” Turner said. “Bigs are hard to find. That coordination, and I’ve seen him hit 15 straight threes from the top [of the arc]. Hopefully it works out for him because I’ve got so much respect for [76ers head coach] Brett [Brown], I’ve got so much respect for the staff that works there, and when Philly gets going like in the [Allen] Iverson days it can be a special city.”
  • The risks that Hinkie took were worthwhile, argues Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine. While acknowledging the potential downside of Hinkie’s moves, Bodner contends Embiid could be the Sixers’ best center since Moses Malone and Nerlens Noel is the team’s best interior defender since Dikembe Mutombo. In addition, Philadelphia has a 50-50 shot at landing a top two draft pick and selecting Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram.
  • Despite charges of nepotism, likely new GM Bryan Colangelo has a solid record, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey notes that Colangelo is a two-time Executive of the Year who has a history of making aggressive moves.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Anthony, Canaan

Nerlens Noel will be eligible to ink a rookie scale extension this summer and judging by comments made by Bryan Colangelo, who will reportedly be named as the Sixers new GM, the odds are good that Philadelphia will likely be amenable doing a deal with the big man before the October 31st deadline, Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine notes (Twitter link). When discussing the extension he had signed DeMar DeRozan to when he was GM of the Raptors, Colangelo said, “I had learned from a previous experience that not signing a key player to an eligible extension can come back to bite you, as family, friends and agents feel it’s a sign of disrespect or a lack of belief toward the player. The rules of restricted free agency still give you the upper hand, but the damage can sometimes be too deep to overcome in a healthy way.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers point guard Isaiah Canaan will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left labrum, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com relays. Canaan was just two starts and 34 minutes away from triggering the starter criteria, but as a result of his injury, the qualifying offer needed to make him a restricted free agent this offseason will remain at $1,215,696 instead of the $2,725,003 he would have been in line for had he met the criteria, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors broke down earlier.
  • Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie never thought that the franchise needed to defend its rebuilding plan to outsiders, believing that doing so would show other organizations the light, which would in turn invite mimicry, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes.
  • Carmelo Anthony is adamant about being part of the Knicks‘ free agent recruiting efforts this summer after being excluded from the process by team president Phil Jackson last offseason, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Post scribe also notes that if New York strikes out in free agency this summer, all bets are off regarding Anthony’s willingness to remain with the team through another season of rebuilding.
  • The Celtics have recalled power forward Jordan Mickey and swingman James Young from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. There will be no more treks to Maine on the season for the pair since the Red Claws have been eliminated from the D-League playoffs, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter).

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Rambis, Lopez

Carmelo Anthony desires a say in the Knicks‘ future personnel decisions, including the selection of the next head coach, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “I think you have to. I think you have to have some type of input, whether it’s input or dialogue, whatever word that you want to use,” Anthony said. “I think you have to have that. I think at this point it needs to be some type of connection, some type of communication. Especially if we want to right this ship, there definitely needs to be some type of communication.” The small forward added that he hasn’t had any discussions with team president Phil Jackson or other members of the front office about who should coach the team next season, Begley notes.

Anthony expressed his appreciation for the job interim coach Kurt Rambis has done but offered no endorsement that Rambis remain in the post beyond this season, Begley adds. “I like Kurt,” Anthony said. “I thought he was kind of thrown into a tough situation with the firing of [Derek Fisher] and kind of gathering the troops, getting guys to play and finish the season up. As far as what’s going to happen this summer, this offseason and next year, who’s going to be in that spot, I have no idea. I haven’t had any conversations with anybody about that. I’m pretty sure they’ll address that when the offseason comes. I would love to have some type of input when it comes to that. But like I said, nobody has had a conversation about that yet.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rambis, who is reportedly Jackson’s preferred choice to coach the Knicks in 2016/17, said he would relish the opportunity to have the interim tag removed from his title, Begley relays in the same piece. “It would be fantastic,” Rambis said. “I want to be a head coach in this league. This is a great franchise; it’s a terrific city, fan base. It would be a thrill beyond thrills in order to take this situation from where it was when we all first came here and turn it into a situation where it’s extremely promising and we have a chance to get in the playoffs and do well in the playoffs and get this city and this organization a potential championship. That’s a goal, and that would be a tremendous thrill.
  • Former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was undone by bad luck in the NBA draft lottery, as the team failed to land the No. 1 overall pick during his tenure, which in turn led to some questionable selections, Rob Mahoney of SI.com writes. The former GM should get credit for sticking to his plan, one that ownership fully endorsed upon his hiring, Mahoney adds.
  • Nets center Brook Lopez believes he and GM Sean Marks are on the same page, and Marks informed Lopez that he sees him as a building block and not as a trade chip, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “He has talked to me, and we both definitely want to be here and see things happen here and help the team grow going forward,’’ Lopez said.
  • The Celtics have assigned swingman James Young and power forward Jordan Mickey to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Young’s 13th trip to Maine and Mickey’s 14th.

Latest Fallout From Sam Hinkie Resignation

Sam Hinkie had been considering his future with the Sixers organization over the past few weeks and decided that he wasn’t comfortable with the team’s plan for his future, which in turn led to him resigning on Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical relays. The now former GM emailed his letter of resignation to the team’s ownership group as well as executive Jerry Colangelo, with the intention of releasing a joint announcement today, Wojnarowski writes. But the letter was leaked to the media within two hours, which eliminated Hinkie’s opportunity to inform his staff directly of his intent. It isn’t known who leaked the 13 page manifesto, but according to Wojnarowski’s sources, Hinkie suspects that it was Colangelo who made his resignation public. Hinkie was reportedly mortified that his letter was leaked, as he never intended it for public dissemination, Wojnarowski adds.

Here’s more regarding Hinkie and the Sixers:

  • Colangelo wanted to turn Hinkie into a glorified director of analytics, or run him out of the organization completely, a plan that wasn’t well-received by the entire ownership group, many of whom remain loyal to Hinkie, Wojnarowski notes in the same piece. Some of the owners believe that Hinkie’s rebuilding plan would begin to bear fruit this offseason and wanted to give him more time to see it through, the Vertical scribe relays.
  • The Sixers had suggested to Hinkie prior to the 2015/16 season that he hire someone who would handle the media and build relationships around the league with agents, players and GMs, a request that Hinkie wasn’t responsive or amenable to, John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com writes.
  • In his resignation letter, Hinkie insinuated that many within the organization cared more about making a profit than building a winning franchise, chiefly CEO Scott O’Neil, Gonzalez suggests in the same piece. “With Scott O’Neil running our business operations, you are in good hands,” Hinkie said in his letter. “I can assure you that when your team is eventually able to compete deep into May, Scott will ably and efficiently separate the good people of the Delaware Valley from their wallets on your behalf. Worry not.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown was disappointed that Hinkie stepped down but noted that the plan to bring in more front office personnel had been in place for some time, Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly relays in a series of tweets. The coach also added that the team’s rebuilding plan is still intact, Camerato notes. “We committed to the path that we said we were going to be on three years ago. We’re committed to that,” said Brown.
  • Brown said that Hinkie hadn’t committed to the front office’s new collaborative process and believed a departure by the executive was a distinct possibility, though he didn’t expect things to come to a head so rapidly, tweets Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine.

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