THE QUIET that has surrounded the 76ers offseason was interrupted yesterday with the news that the organization had hired Sam Hinkie as the president of basketball operations and general manager, according to multiple sources.
Former general manager Tony DiLeo, who was with the team in different capacities since the 1990-91 season, was let go, sources said. A news conference announcing the new hiring could come early next week.
Hinkie comes from the Houston Rockets, for whom he has been the vice president of basketball operations since 2010. Considered an analytics expert, Hinkie signed a multiyear contract with the team that could be 3 or 4 years, according to a source.
A 2004 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Hinkie earned his MBA from Stanford. He became the youngest vice president of the NBA when the Rockets hired him in 2007.
Before joining the Rockets, Hinkie advised two NFL teams on strategy for drafting and ways to use statistical analysis to help with decisions on draft picks. He has lectured on analytics at Harvard, Stanford and the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. Owner Josh Harris is a graduate of Wharton.
The hiring of Hinkie now puts someone in place to conduct a coaching search, which became necessary when Doug Collins announced his resignation on April 18 to assume a role with the team as an adviser. It would appear that the new coach will be someone with a solid belief and knowledge of analytics, which would probably point to an assistant in the NBA.
Hinkie inherits a roster that has eight players under contract, totaling a little more than $46 million. The expected salary cap for this upcoming season is $58.5 million. The payroll includes guard Jason Richardson, who is to make $6.2 million this season. But he suffered a serious knee injury this past season and his career may be in jeopardy.
And what about free agent Andrew Bynum, who did not play at all last season because of knee trouble?
The hiring comes at a good time for the Sixers, as the rookie predraft camp takes place next week in Chicago, with the draft set for June 27. Having a coach before then is probably at the top of Hinkie's list of things to do.