Sam Hinkie Rumors
Yet, Kilpatrick never got a call-up from then-Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie while with the Sevens. At the time, it didn’t seem to be a big deal, with the Sixers having Isaiah Canaan, Nik Stauskas, and Thompson. Like Kilpatrick, they are all guards who can stretch defenses with their shooting. Passing him up seems crazy now, however, considering how he surpassed the three players from a talent standpoint. Plus, new Sixers president Bryan Colangelo declined to extend Canaan a qualifying offer this summer. “I don’t really remember how it played out,” Brown said. “I think Sam with the [front office] group felt like with Isaiah here and other people here . . . I don’t really remember how it really played out. I do know that Sam thought highly of him, but obviously not highly enough to bring him in.” That worked out well for the Nets.
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has a certain sense of humor, one that has embraced former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s motto of “Trust the Process” as a kind of personal mantra and brand. Embiid has apparently taken it a step further, showing off custom sneakers on Snapchat of his “Trust the Process” shoes.
As time went by, though, he began to circle back. By early November he seemed more certain. “I think the world probably assumes that I’m recharging and unplugging, and there’s a little of that,” he said one evening. “This will get me in trouble if I say it, but I think I’m mostly sharpening the sword to come back.”
To date, Hinkie says he’s been approached by a couple of teams, informally, but he won’t know the market until the end of the season, when his noncompete is up. That is, if he goes back to basketball. When I first saw him in October, he seemed unsure. He needed to evaluate. Find a focus. “I’m working 30 hours or so a week, and if I’m being honest I’d rather it was 50,” he said.
A half dozen other GMs and execs—an admittedly unscientific survey—voiced largely similar sentiments. Some pointed out that while fans and media get hung up on the narrative, people in the league move on much more quickly. “Sam’s respected, and that’s the biggest thing for sure,” says one GM. Another points out that just by having confidence in his ideas, Hinkie is appealing to owners. Because, for one, how many people can do the job of NBA GM? And within that subset how many of those actually have a plan? (See the last 10 years in Sacramento.) In Philly, Hinkie became known as a cutthroat negotiator, sometimes to his detriment. But at least one rival GM thought his rep was earned partly because Hinkie’s combination of certainty and patience was intimidating. He knew what he wanted and was willing to wait for it. This is not the norm in pro sports, where, as one exec says, “To be honest, most of us are just plowing through.”