Sam Hinkie

Sixers Rumors: McConnell, Roster, Embiid, Stauskas

Undrafted rookie T.J. McConnell is making a strong bid for a roster spot, according to Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He is one of six point guards on the roster, but with Tony Wroten and Kendall Marshall both injured, an opportunity exists for McConnell, who had 10 points and 10 assists Friday in his first preseason start. Sixers coach Brett Brown says the rookie has a “very, very acute” self-awareness and understanding of the game. “He’s a point guard,” Brown said. “I’ve said it all along that point guards are born. He thinks and acts and does things like a point guard.”

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown said keeping just three point guards on the roster will be “tricky” if Wroten and Marshall aren’t available at the start of the season, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media. The coach adds that, “We’re not going to cut down [the roster] until the death knock” because there have been so many injuries (Twitter link). “This whole thing is fluid and changes on a dime,” said Brown, who wants to take a longer look at his younger players (Twitter link).
  • Brown is taking issue with things that were said about Joel Embiid in a recent article, writes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News. Brown was especially upset about the allegation that Sixers majority owner Josh Harris ordered the coach and GM Sam Hinkie to tell Embiid not to go to Las Vegas for the team’s summer camp, and when neither one did, Embiid showed up. “When you read about what’s now been written, there are several portions that are wildly inaccurate,” Brown said. “That [directives from Harris] being one of them. I have no idea what that means or why it was said. It’s just one of those things that we move on from. We’re pretty much treating it as noise and we will move on from it.”
  • Nik Stauskas hasn’t played yet in the preseason, but is hoping to be ready before opening night, Cooney writes in the same piece. Acquired in a July trade with the Kings, Stauskas has been recovering from a stress reaction in his right tibia. “I felt great today and really got in a good sweat at the morning shootaround,” he said Saturday. “I’m really not feeling any pain and my legs feel really strong. I should be ready soon.”

Latest On Sixers, Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid put off foot surgery this summer to party and play basketball in Las Vegas this summer, and the Sixers have been frustrated with his attitude and insubordination, sources detailed to Brian Geltzeiler of’s The Cauldron. Sixers majority owner Josh Harris didn’t want Embiid to accompany the Sixers to the Las Vegas Summer League in July, preferring that Embiid undergo the surgery doctors prescribed for his slow-healing right foot, and Harris instructed GM Sam Hinkie and Brett Brown to ensure he didn’t attend. Neither kept the former No. 3 overall pick from traveling to Las Vegas, multiple sources tell Geltzeiler. Embiid didn’t appear in games, but he shot jumpers and dunked on the side and refused to wear a medically prescribed walking boot, Geltzeiler hears. Surgery didn’t take place until August.

Hinkie has expressed a desire for Embiid to be more focused in his rehab, but he said around the time of Embiid’s surgery that the center had adhered to the recovery plan laid out for him. Embiid’s diet and conditioning have nonetheless worried the Sixers, multiple sources tell Geltzeiler, who also hears that Embiid physically threatened a Sixers strength coach last season.

Sixers majority owner Josh Harris remains firmly in Hinkie’s corner in spite of the issues regarding Embiid and other concerns around the team, but sources suggested to Geltzeiler that others within the ownership structure are losing patience. Last season’s Michael Carter-Williams trade riled and surprised Brown, multiple league sources tell Geltzeiler, though Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported in the spring that while Brown didn’t fully support the move, the tension between him and Hinkie was minimal.

Geltzeiler’s sources also say Scott O’Neil, who sits atop the team’s business operations as its CEO, was angry and caught off guard by the trade, as he’d planned to market around Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. However, Sixers spokesperson Michael Preston denied any discord surrounding the move, calling it “unsubstantiated rumor” and “a gross mischaracterization of the events” in an email response to Geltzeiler’s inquiry. O’Neil said in a recent interview with Jake Fischer of SI Now that the team’s business department has come to terms with the trade and is excited about the club’s assets for the long term, which include a future first-round pick from the Lakers that came in that same Carter-Williams deal (Twitter link).

Dario Saric, another of Philadelphia’s prospects for the future, remains under contract with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes, and his father is pushing the Sixers away, a source tells Geltzeiler. Saric has denied that his father is exerting undue influence. Saric and the Sixers both reportedly wanted him to join Philadelphia in time for this season, but the first escape clause in his deal isn’t until next summer.

Sixers Notes: Hinkie, Embiid, Brown, Landry

Sixers owner Josh Harris admits that it’s difficult to watch his team lose, but he insists that he doesn’t want to sacrifice the franchise’s long-term rebuilding plan, notes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Harris is still supportive of GM Sam Hinkie, pointing to the work he’s done via trade, and he doesn’t question the team’s decision to draft Joel Embiid third overall last year despite the fact that he’s likely to miss a second season in a row because of his ailing right foot, as Tom Moore of Calkins Media observes (All Twitter links).

‘When we drafted Joel, it was a good risk to take. I was really disappointed [about the news of his second foot surgery],” Harris said. “When you talk to the doctors, they’re quite optimistic. You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

See more from Philadelphia:

  • Harris and Hinkie didn’t talk about an extension for coach Brett Brown, whose contract expires at the end of the 2016/17 season, but they made it clear they’re fond of him. “I give Brett an A for the job he’s done. He’s an incredible player development person,” Harris said, according to Moore (Twitter links). “I hope and expect Brett to be around the team for a long, long time.” Hinkie believes Brown has also excelled in ways that aren’t readily apparent, as Pompey relays“I’m proud to see all of you like Brett Brown as much as I like Brett Brown,” Hinkie said to reporters, including Moore, as he pointed to stories about the idea of an extension“It’s been a real pleasure — and I suspect it’ll continue to be a real pleasure — to work with him. He and I have a great relationship. He’s been a fantastic partner.”
  • Carl Landry is still about five or six weeks away from a return following June 2nd surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist, but Hinkie indicated that the team intends for him to stick around despite his status as a veteran who’s making a relatively sizable amount of money, as Pompey details. His $6.5MM salary is the highest on the team. “We talked a lot about this situation and how it’s different the way people might perceive it [as nothing more than a salary dump], and the importance of his voice and how that might matter,” Hinkie said. “That doesn’t take away from his game. I think he will be able to play fine.”
  • Nik Stauskas, whom the Sixers acquired along with Landry via trade this summer, regrets approaching his rookie year last season with trepidation, as he tells Pompey for a separate piece. “Coming into last year, I had no clue what to expect,” Stauskas said. “I was a little bit nervous, maybe a little bit scared. Coming into the NBA for me was almost a different ball game. Looking back on it, that was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made. It’s still just basketball. It just happens to be with different players in a different league.”
  • Undrafted rookie Christian Wood has just a $50K guarantee on his deal with the Sixers, but he’s looked impressive so far, Pompey opines. Brown has praise for the power forward, and particularly for the development of his three-point shot.

Sixers Notes: Wroten, Bogans, Embiid

The Sixers didn’t approach this summer with any more urgency to improve than in previous offseasons, as GM Sam Hinkie tells Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News.

“Not a lot,” Hinkie said when asked if he felt an immediacy to win more games this season. “We try to be opportunistic year-round, not just summer-to-summer, but year-round. We try to predict what opportunities might come our way and think ahead of time about what opportunities we might be interested in and what ones we would clearly let pass. The flow of those opportunities is uncertain. We don’t ever know when they’ll come but we try to be out in a lot of those situations to understand what might happen.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Tony Wroten is expected to return from a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at the start of the upcoming regular season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Wroten had season-ending surgery last February.
  • Keith Bogans said Philadelphia never called him when he was traded to the Sixers prior to last season, Amin Elhassan of tweets. Two weeks later, Bogans was waived and didn’t receive a call from the franchise about that either.
  • Tom Moore of the Calkins Media examines the news of Joel Embiid‘s latest setback from an optimistic point of view. Moore argues that Embiid’s missed time will allow the Sixers to see if Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor can co-exist on the floor together.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Winslow, Knicks

The Sixers own the No. 3 selection in Thursday’s draft and Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are expected to be off the board by the time Philly picks. Tom Moore of Calkins Media speculates what the team will do should either big man fall to them. If the draft goes as expected, the Sixers will most likely choose between D’Angelo Russell, Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay, who I opined should be the selection in the franchise’s Offseason Outlook. Moore notes that the team could easily trade down in the draft or make some other unexpected move, citing GM Sam Hinkie‘s unconventional approach in the past.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division

  • The Sixers have worked out Justise Winslow, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The forward should be an impact defender for a team right away, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors explains in his Prospect Profile of the forward.
  • Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines the journey that Winslow has taken through high school and college to become a surefire lottery selection. Winslow is reportedly the “leader in the clubhouse” to be taken by the Knicks with their No. 4 overall pick. Scarito has Winslow going to New York in his latest Mock Draft.
  • The Knicks worked out Frank Kaminsky and Joshua Smith in addition to working out Trey Lyles and Kevon Looney yesterday, according to Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Young, Nets, Celtics

The Sixers hold the third overall pick in this year’s draft and the team will select the player that they believe will be the best player long-term rather than the player who’s more NBA ready now, Tom Moore of Calkins Media writes.

“We’ll spend all the available time between now and then to try to gain all the information we can to make good decisions,” GM Sam Hinkie said. “By design, we’ll have to make a decision at the end of June. I think it’s really a mistake to make one sometimes much, much earlier.”  

Many executives believe the Sixers will take D’Angelo Russell, but selecting Emmanuel Mudiay remains a possibility due to his potential. Moore wonders what the team will do if either Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns fall to the third pick. He believes the team would keep Towns, but it would look to trade Okafor, potentially to the Knicks for their fourth overall pick and an additional asset. New York cannot trade a first round pick until 2018, but that might work for Hinkie, who appears to be one of the most patient executives in the league.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Joseph Young will work out for the NetsRobert Windrem of NetsDaily writes. Chad Ford of ranks the Oregon product as the 40th best prospect, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranks him as the 53rd. Brooklyn holds the No. 29 and No. 41 picks in this year’s draft.
  • The Celtics need to improve their talents and cannot afford to pass on free agents this summer, Jackie MacMullan of the Boston Globe opines (Video link). MacMullan concedes that a top target, such as LaMarcus Aldridge, could be difficult to obtain, but even if that is the case, the team needs to add players from the next tier of free agents. She suggests Khris Middleton and Tobias Harris as potential targets. DeMarre Carroll could be another option, as Boston reportedly has interest in the forward. The Celtics have slightly more than $40.4MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2015/16 against a projected $67.1MM salary cap. The team could sign a few mid-tier free agents in order to improve on their 40-win campaign.

Draft History: Sam Hinkie

The 2015 NBA draft is less than two months away, and for teams that aren’t still participating in the NBA playoffs, the focus is on using that event to build toward a better future. The exact draft order won’t be known until the May 19th lottery, when the simple bounce of a ping-pong ball can alter the fate of a franchise. Of course, having one of the top selections in any draft doesn’t guarantee that a team will snag a future All-Star. Team executives and scouts still have the difficult task of making the correct call with their picks.

With this in mind we at Hoops Rumors will be taking a look back at the draft history of the primary basketball executive for each NBA team. Their names, reputations, and possibly employment will be on the line as a result of the decisions to come on June 25th, and we’ll be examining what they’ve done in previous years in charge of a club’s front office. Note that many of them have played other sorts of roles within a team’s executive structure, but this won’t take that into account. We’ll continue onward with a look back at the calls made by Sixers executive Sam Hinkie

Sixers (May 2013-Present)

2013 Draft

  • No. 6 Overall — Nerlens Noel*: 75 games, 9.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.9 BPG. .462/.000/.609.
  • No. 11 Overall — Michael Carter-Williams: 136 games, 15.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.5 APG. .401/.252/.699.
  • No. 38 Overall — Nate Wolters**: 79 games, 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.6 APG. .426/.261/.635.
  • No. 54 Overall — Arsalan Kazemi**: No NBA regular season appearances.

* Acquired in a trade with the Pelicans along with a 2014 first-rounder in exchange for Jrue Holiday and the No. 42 overall pick (Pierre Jackson).

** Acquired from the Wizards in exchange for the No. 35 overall pick (Glen Rice Jr.). The Sixers then dealt Wolters’ rights to the Bucks the following day in exchange for Ricky Ledo.

Notable players passed over: Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15) and Rudy Gobert (No. 27).

2014 Draft

  •  No. 3 Overall — Joel Embiid: No NBA regular season appearances.
  • No. 12 Overall — Dario Saric*: No NBA regular season appearances.
  • No. 32 Overall — K.J. McDaniels: 62 games, 7.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.2 APG. .396/.287/.752.
  • No. 39 Overall — Jerami Grant: 65 games, 6.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.2 APG. .352/.314/.591.
  • No. 52 Overall — Vasilije Micic: No NBA regular season appearances.
  • No. 58 Overall — Jordan McRae**: No NBA regular season appearances.

*Acquired in a trade with the Magic along with a 2017 first-rounder and a 2015 second round pick in exchange for the No. 10 overall pick (Elfrid Payton).

** Acquired from the Spurs along with the No. 60 overall pick (Cory Jefferson) in exchange for the No. 54 overall pick (Nemanja Dangubic). The rights to Jefferson were then dealt to the Nets in exchange for cash.

*** Dealt the No. 47 overall pick (Russ Smith) to the Pelicans in exchange for Pierre Jackson.

Notable players passed over: Dante Exum (No. 5), Marcus Smart (No. 6), Rodney Hood (No. 23), and Jordan Clarkson (No. 46).

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Robinson, Jackson

Isaiah Thomas has opened eyes with his three point shooting, but there is another aspect of his game that has impressed the Celtics, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The newly acquired guard, who came to Boston from Phoenix in a deadline-day deal, has eight three-pointers in his first three games as a Celtic.  Coach Brad Stevens said his ability to space the floor is just as valuable.  “We started the season playing very skilled at the 4 and the 5,” Stevens said, “but I think the ability to get in the paint, again, off of his (Thomas’) creation — but then the next guy getting into the paint because of it — is probably the key.”  More from the Atlantic Division..

  • The 76ers grabbed Thomas Robinson off waivers to spite the Nets, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.  They needed another contract on the books since they’re at the salary floor and wanted to take a closer look at the forward, but GM Sam Hinkie also knew that they playoff-hopeful Nets were interested in his services.  Hinkie was at odds with Nets GM Billy King over the handling of Andrei Kirilenko, who was traded from Brooklyn to Philly with the belief that he would be bought out.  Instead, the 76ers demanded that he report to the club and then eventually waived him.
  • One year later, there are still questions about whether Phil Jackson can build the Knicks into a contender, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes.  Jason Kidd‘s young and athletic Bucks, less than a year into Kidd’s time in Milwaukee, are closer to being a real contender for the title than the Knicks are, or might be anytime soon.  Knicks fans clamored for the Zen Master in 2014, but it’s now unclear if he’s the answer for them or whether Derek Fisher has what it takes to be a successful coach.
  • In a video interview, new Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko tells A. Sherrod Blakely of that he is enjoying his “fresh start” in Boston. He has averaged 12 points and 5.3 rebounds in three games since being traded from the Pistons. “I appreciate Detroit and all they did for me, but it was time for me to move on,” Jerebko said. “I feel great in this new situation. It’s a great organization and I’m honored to play for the Boston Celtics.” 

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Hinkie On: Carter-Williams, McGee, Draft

Sixers GM Sam Hinkie spoke with reporters on Friday about the trades he has made this season, and what they mean to his franchise moving forward. The entire press conference was transcribed by John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News, and here are some of the highlights.

When asked about taking on salaries to acquire draft picks, Hinkie said:

One of the ways we are trying to build our team is to try and transact with other teams and to try to help other teams to solve their problems. That’s exactly the kind of deal we’ve been out looking at and been transacting throughout the year, which is ways in which we might use our cap space to help other teams and ways they might help us with our future. After much back and forth, we agreed to take JaVale McGee if they would include the Oklahoma City pick.

On trading Michael Carter-Williams:

 “Michael kind exploded on his introduction into the NBA with that steal and dunk to start against Miami. From that moment, people have called and assumed we might move him and assumed that maybe they could get their hands on him. We said the same thing every time – we’re not interested in moving him. We like him. The only way we would ever move him was if someone blew us away. We rejected offer after offer over the last year or more, but something came along that we think is really interesting and really scarce, which was that pick from the Lakers. Those picks do not move around very much. It is almost impossible to get your hands on a pick that at least has a chance to be a high lottery pick. In the end, that made us decide it was the right thing to do to move our program forward.

When asked why a conditional draft pick was worth more than a former Rookie of the Year, Hinkie responded:

It is how you think about uncertainty. Do you think about uncertainty as scary and something to be afraid of? Or do you think try to look at it as, where are the opportunities there to make our team better? It’s not about Michael at all. I think Michael has a very bright future is this league. It is still necessary for someone to look at the tough decisions we have to make to move our program forward. Michael did nothing wrong. It is possible for two things to be really valuable – both Michael and something else.”

On which of the possible three protected first-round picks the team owns that Hinkie expects to have available for the 2015 draft:

Gut feeling, my guess is the Lakers pick is very unlikely to convey this year, for a whole host of reasons. The Oklahoma City pick , I would give it loosely 30/70 odds of conveying this year. I think it’s much more likely to convey next year. I think the Miami pick is increasingly likely to convey this year.

And-Ones: Bledsoe, Love, Hinkie, Murry

Eric Bledsoe is the top remaining player still unsigned, though as a restricted free agent the Suns have the right to match any offer sheet that Bledsoe agrees to. Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic looks at why Bledsoe hasn’t received any offers, and examines the player’s options going forward. Bickley also opines that Bledsoe is risking alienating the fans in Phoenix by turning down the Suns’ four-year, $48MM deal.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • George Karl told Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune that the Wolves can’t afford to pass on trading Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, if the Cavs are truly offering that package (via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer’s tweet). Karl coached through a tumultuous season with the Nuggets when Carmelo Anthony eventually received his desired trade to the Knicks.
  • Every year when the dust settles and the free agent signings begin to wind down there are winners and losers. Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today weigh in on this year’s successes and disappointments.
  • The Thunder‘s Josh Huestis might become the NBA’s first domestic “draft-and-stash” player, writes Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. If Huestis does skip signing with the Thunder and heads directly to the NBA D-League, it could signal a major shift in the future of the D-League and how it’s utilized, notes Mayberry.
  • Sixers GM Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding plan might not be popular in Philadelphia as the losses keep piling up. Jason Wolf of USA Today profiles the GM, as well as takes a look at the moves he’s made so far in his efforts to retool the franchise.
  • The Jazz are interested in signing free agent Toure’ Murry, tweets Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. Falk notes that Murry might be waiting for an offer from the Heat. The Knicks had also expressed interest in bringing Murry back, but currently have a logjam in the backcourt.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

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