In a surprising move, Sam Hinkie has resigned from his positions as general manager and president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
The team confirmed the move in a statement from owner Josh Harris:
This evening, Sam Hinkie notified the organization that he has elected to step down as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. While we are disappointed in Sam's decision, we would like to sincerely thank him for his contributions over the past three seasons. There is no question that Sam's work has put us in a very strong position to take advantage of numerous opportunities for an exciting future.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Hinkie's staff was "completely unaware" of his resignation and that he had told no one under him.
Stein posted an excerpt from the 13-page letter Hinkie wrote to the ownership group informing them of his decision:
There has been much criticism of our approach. There will be more. A competitive league like the NBA necessitates a zig while our competitors comfortably zag. We often chose not to defend ourselves against much of the criticism, largely in an effort to stay true to the ideal of having the longest view in the room ... Given all the changes to our organization, I no longer have the confidence that I can make good decisions on behalf of investors in the Sixers — you. So I should step down. And I have.
According to Wojnarowski, there were no plans to fire Hinkie. In fact, Wojnarowski reports that the team believed Hinkie would stay on board and accept the hiring of another "high-level executive" who would presumably share power over basketball operations.
Wojnarowski adds that the team has been targeting Bryan Colangelo, son of Jerry Colangelo, to assume the role as general manager and that the move would have "fully marginalized" Hinkie in the front office. Sources have told Wojnarowski that Colangelo will indeed now be hired in the wake of Hinkie's resignation.
In December, the 76ers hired the elder Colangelo as a "special adviser." The move was widely considered an effort to end the tanking process and diminish Hinkie's role.
The 76ers have come under fire and increased scrutiny in the past year for their radical rebuilding play that included tanking several seasons in order to acquire as many top draft picks as possible in an effort to horde assets for the future.
At the time of Jerry Colangelo's hiring, one source told The Intelligencer's Tom Moore that "It's clear (Hinkie) has, for all intents and purposes, been fired."
Interestingly, the move comes just one day after the normally media-shy Hinkie made an appearance on "The Lowe Post" podcast with Zach Lowe. When asked why he was suddenly available for an extended interview, Hinkie said that it was one of the things "Jerry suggested I do ... to help people understand where we are and why we're here and where we're going."
One day later, wherever it is that the 76ers are going, they are going there without Hinkie.
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