PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have named former Houston executive Sam Hinkie team president and general manager.
Hinkie was formally introduced by the team Tuesday. Hinkie was the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Rockets, and was the top choice by owner Joshua Harris to oversee the rebuilding of this beleaguered franchise.
Hinkie is an analytics disciple and spoke in March at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
Hinkie must now hire a coach after Doug Collins resigned following three seasons. Collins and former Rod Thorn are officially consultants for the team, but are now in the background of a major reconstruction project that Harris, Hinkie and a new coach will tackle.
Philadelphia went 34-48 last season.
Hinkie replaces Tony DiLeo, who is out after one full season as Sixers general manager. DiLeo, who completed his 23rd season with the Sixers, had been working as senior vice president before his promotion. He had a brief stint as an assistant in the early 1990s, and took over as interim coach in December 2008 after Maurice Cheeks was fired. DiLeo was widely credited — and now blamed — for orchestrating the botched deal for center Andrew Bynum.
"Sam is a proven innovator and holds values that align with those of our ownership group," Harris said. "Sam's experience, his judgment, and his analytical approach make us confident that he is the right leader to build a foundation for long-term success — with the goal of ultimately contending for a championship — here in Philadelphia."
Philadelphia went to the playoffs in Collins' first two seasons, and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. But with Bynum injured all season, the 76ers stumbled this season, finishing 20 games behind division-champion New York.
Along the way, Bynum never played for the Sixers because of bone bruises in both knees. He insisted from training camp he would play this season, only to shut it down for good on March 18. He then underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned $16.5 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Bynum is one of six free agents for the Sixers, who are devoid of any real assets. Jrue Holiday was an All-Star in his third full season and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the two players in the franchise's 50-year history to average more than 17 points and eight assists for an entire season.
Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner are solid assets. But those two standouts — along with Holiday — weren't enough to help lead the Sixers back to the postseason.
"I agreed to come lead the Sixers because the first, and to my mind, the most important building block is in place: A thoughtful ownership group committed to building a basketball operation that is data-driven, strategic and relentlessly innovative," Hinkie said. "The challenge ahead of us is real, but I am invigorated to build something lasting for Philadelphia."