CHICAGO - In another three months, Sam Hinkie hopes to relocate his family and begin house hunting.

For now, the 76ers' new general manager and president of basketball operations - the guy with perhaps the toughest job in Philly - is preoccupied with salvaging a franchise.

Hinkie's most urgent tasks are hiring a coach and assessing draft prospects at the NBA draft combine.

"Yeah, my family is in Houston," Hinkie, a former executive with the Rockets, said Thursday, his third day on his new job. "I left them when I came to the press conference [in Philadelphia] and bought a one-way ticket. I bought a one-way ticket here. And I'll buy a one-way ticket back on Saturday.

"So, yeah, everything I own is in a few suitcases in the hotel."

And it will be that way for at least 100 days. Not that the 35-year-old is complaining.

Hinkie is preparing for the long haul. He knows how vital it will be to hire the right coach and make aggressive roster upgrades to a 34-win team. And he realizes there's more on his plate now than probably in his eight years with the Rockets combined.

"I've known for many years, if I was ever fortunate enough to get a chance to really lead the way I want, this kind of thing would happen," Hinkie said. "So what are you willing to do? What steps could I have taken 10 years ago, five years ago and two years ago to be ready when the flood comes?

"Because, you know, when it comes, it will come in a hurry."

Don't be surprised if he parts ways with some of the Sixers' most popular players this summer. As he sees it, it's all about making the right long-term investments.

"So you've got to try to figure out . . . who the best players are likely to be," he said. "Not who the best players are this very moment. That's not even very important, unfortunately.

"What's important is who the best players are going to be and in two years or five years or maybe for the very best ones, eight years. That's the most important one instead."

It's also important to immerse himself in finding the right draft picks and coach. Judging by his actions on Thursday, he's wasting no time.

Hinkie got up early to evaluate draft prospects at the Harrison Street Gym until midafternoon. Then he was scheduled to interview some of those prospects until 9 p.m. And when time permitted, Hinkie turned his attention to the coaching search.

"We had some good discussions about the team last night over dinner," he said of his staff. "It wouldn't surprise me if we do that again. We have a lot to get in over the next 100 days here."

Living and breathing basketball is nothing new to the former Oklahoma prep player, who was born in the Netherlands. His childhood friends probably would describe him as "crazy about hoops and he's bright" Hinkie said.

USA Today named him one of the nation's top 60 undergraduate students at Oklahoma, where he graduated summa cum laude. Hinkie earned a masters in business administration from Stanford.

Before joining the Rockets, Hinkie advised NFL teams on ways to use analytics in decision making and draft strategies.

As the new decision maker for the Sixers, he aims to combine his academic background and his love for basketball.

"If you want to be good at something, when can you get enough?" Hinkie said of having a job in basketball. "Do you get to the end of the workday and say, 'Oh, I'd rather go do this?' . . . I do my job, but I have these other things that I really like to do. Or are you like me and you struggle to get enough?"

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.