Sam Hinkie Steps Down as 76ers GM: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2016

FILE - In this July 23, 2013, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie speaks at a news conference to introduce newly-acquired rookie Nerlens Noel at the team's NBA basketball training facility in Philadelphia. Hinkie has his coach and even a roster for his D-League team following this week's draft. He also has a ton of patience, as his first year as 76ers president and general manager promises to be a long one.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie stepped down from his post Wednesday, months after the arrival of Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein first reported the team's latest change in the front office. The Sixers later released a statement announcing the news, via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

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.

Tom Moore of the the Intelligencer‎ previously reported Hinkie had "for all intents and purposes, been fired" once the Sixers brought in Colangelo to provide guidance for the struggling organization.

Sixers ownership wasn't planning on firing Hinkie, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who added they thought he would take a "high-level executive" position with the team. 

Hinkie sent a letter to the Sixers' ownership group explaining his decision, per Stein

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 Sixersyou. So I should step down. And I have.

The full text of the 13-page letter can be found here, via ESPN.com.

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Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer provided comments from 76ers head coach Brett Brown:

Wojnarowski provided some insight into who the team's next general manager could be: 

Hinkie took the reins of the 76ers roster in 2013 and embarked on a long-term rebuilding project. He tore down the squad with the goal of retooling it with a combination of young players and future additions using cap space created by the moves.

But the lack of progress, which featured just 37 wins over the last two seasons and a 10-68 mark this year, raised questions. The limited impact from key additions such as Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel was concerning as well, and Hinkie revealed the stress of repeated losses weighed on him earlier this year.  

"I lost 20 pounds in November to January," Hinkie said on a recent edition of The Lowe Post with ESPN.com's Zach Lowe (via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey). "It was just a hard season to start the year." 

In December 2015, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported owners around the NBA were so troubled by the direction of the 76ers under Hinkie's guidance that they had been talking to the league office about the situation for more than a year. That played a role in Colangelo's arrival. 

Colangelo is known because of his work with the Phoenix Suns and USA Basketball. It's going to take time to get the 76ers back moving in the right direction, but he should provide the stability the team has lacked in recent years.

Hinkie received notoriety for his involvement in analytics, but eventually the results on the court must begin to match up with the long-term vision. Philadelphia continued to struggle mightily. ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how bad the 76ers were during Hinkie's tenure: 

Colangelo is likely going to chart a different path for the Sixers. Some type of change was necessary after several years of failure.