The Sixers traded away their longest-tenured leader. Credit: Getty Images
When Sam Hinkie was hired, he proposed a long-term vision for the Philadelphia 76ers.
After Hinkie’s first season, that vision hasn’t changed.
The Sixers’ general manager continues to acquire assets with the hope of competing for multiple championships in the future.
But it’s hard to be patient in a passionate city such as this one.
Yet Hinkie’s grand plan seems to have captured the hearts of these fans. They want to win the franchise’s first championship since 1983 as badly as Hinkie does.
“I continue to hear from our fans optimism of what we’re building,” Hinkie said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon."
Following a busy draft night when the Sixers added Kansas center Joel Embiid and Dario Saric in the first round – though Saric is under contract internationally for at least two years – Hinkie didn’t relax.
The Sixers acquired the Miami Heat’s 2015 first round draft pick, forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for popular forward Thaddeus Young.
Young was the longest-tenured Sixer after playing seven seasons. The Sixers traded Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes before last season’s trade deadline. Now Young is gone, too.
It wasn’t an easy move to make. Yet it was necessary.
And this latest trade is all part of Hinkie’s master plan.
“Obviously, this is a move that we think moves our program forward,” Hinkie said.
Guard Jason Richardson will enter the 2014-15 season as the team’s oldest player at 33. Beyond Richardson, the remainder of the players on the roster are inexperienced.
In other words, they’re young.
“There aren’t any shortcuts to success,” Hinkie said.
While it may have been difficult to trade Young, the Sixers picked up an extra first round pick. That was the key to the deal.
“You don’t see a lot of first rounders trading hands these days,” Hinkie said.
With the future being the key, the Sixers still must field a team this season.
Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams is rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. Nerlens Noel, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, will likely make his NBA debut on opening night.
“So far, so good,” Hinkie said of MCW. “Things are coming along. I haven’t seen the most recent checkup. … Last I heard, he hasn’t be cleared for 5-on-5 contact.”
How about Noel?
“He’s had a pretty good summer,” Hinkie said. “He’s worked very hard this summer. Nerlens has incredible gifts as you saw in Summer League. He has an incredible ability to change games with his shot-blocking.”
There will be young players at virtually every position. Wins may be scarce again.