Highlights From Sam Hinkie’s Resignation Letter

The 13-page resignation letter than GM Sam Hinkie sent to Sixers owners, which Marc Stein of ESPN obtained, lays bare the philosophy of an executive whose tenure was marked by public silence as much as it was by lost games. It was nonetheless a common example of the sort of communication he privately had with the owners, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). In his latest dispatch, Hinkie cites everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Warren Buffett to Bill Belichick, among less notorious figures, as Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link). The ex-GM defends the moves he made, along with the general ideas of taking the long view and going against the grain.

“To develop truly contrarian views will require a never-ending thirst for better, more diverse inputs,” Hinkie writes. “What player do you think is most undervalued? Get him for your team. What basketball axiom is most likely to be untrue? Take it on and do the opposite. What is the biggest, least valuable time sink for the organization? Stop doing it. Otherwise, it’s a big game of pitty pat, and you’re stuck just hoping for good things to happen, rather than developing a strategy for how to make them happen.”

We’ll hit the highlights of the more than 7,000-word opus here:

  • Robert Covington is with the Sixers now, but he was originally with the Rockets, a sore point for Hinkie, who says he wanted him immediately after he went undrafted in 2013 but instead returned from his postdraft press conference to discover Covington was off the market. Hinkie writes that he stewed over that for more than a year until signing him in November 2014, a few weeks after Houston waived him.
  • Hinkie claims that the Sixers set an all-time NBA record in acquiring the rights or swap rights to more than 26 draft picks in his first 26 months as GM.
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge received Hinkie’s Executive of the Year vote in 2014 after the Celtics acquired a first-round pick and a second-round pick along with Joel Anthony in a January trade that year. Hinkie had worked to acquire the same package, he writes.
  • Hinkie points to a recent quote from Peter Holt, the former primary owner of the Spurs, who said the free agent signing of LaMarcus Aldridge was years in the making. Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News originally had the story. “Give R.C. Buford credit,” Holt said. “[Gregg Popovich] is a great coach, but R.C. came to us with this plan three years ago, four years ago — seriously. And we’ve worked at it ever since. He, by far, was the general. We wouldn’t be where we are, in this position, if it hadn’t have been for R.C. Buford.”
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