After weeks of nothing but silence from the organization, Sam Hinkie and the Sixers kicked the offseason into high gear with a hectic and eventful Draft day last Thursday.
Hinkie orchestrated some major moves that collectively added assets and cut cap space, vastly altering the outlook for the future of the franchise.
When he shipped all-star Jrue Holiday out of town for a kid with a box-cut and knee issues, it became crystal clear that Hinkie has every intention of cleaning house entirely. His plan, however, is probably deeper than it seems at the surface.
Based on his moves on draft day, it seems Hinkie wants to build the foundation up with fresh faces and young talent. Stocking up on youth and getting rid of bad contracts is part of the plan, but it does not stop there; it is quite likely that he is looking to parlay some of these up-and-comers into an established star.
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Hinkie’s tenure in Houston was characterized by searching for a star, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be similar with the Sixers.
While Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams are nice additions to the Sixers’ roster, it is difficult to determine if they were drafted as foundations of the franchise. There is no guarantee that both will be Sixers next summer, as Hinkie may view such players as alluring assets rather than long-term additions.
Between 2010 and 2012 Houston had six first round picks, and the only one remaining on the Rockets’ roster is Terrence Jones. This illustrates that Hinkie is unafraid to move players, and that he considers overall market value when making personnel moves.
After (unsuccessfully) making moves and clearing cap space to try to sign Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Dwight Howard respectively, Hinkie was finally able to land Houston a star in James Harden last October.
Finally securing a star was not cheap for Hinkie and Houston, however, as they had to part with Kevin Martin, 2012 lottery pick Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-rounder as well. In order to make moves like this, a team’s asset base must be high, and this is what Hinkie began developing for the Sixers on draft day.
Established players with hefty contracts (Holiday, Evan Turner, Thad Young) don’t garner much interest on the open market, but young promising players and draft picks are a different story.
Hinkie’s stockpiling of picks and players in Houston was a clear attempt to land an all-star with which to build the team around, and his plan paid off, as the Rockets are developing into one of the Western Conference’s best young teams. It is important to note that landing a star-caliber player and developing into a contendor didn't happen overnight for Houston, but rather over the course of several seasons, and it would be the same for the Sixers.
So while Noel, Carter-Williams, and future draft picks seem like promising pickups, don’t be surprised if they are not here for the long haul. If Hinkie’s tenure in Houston is any indicator, the Sixers' roster shakeup has just begun.