Thursday night, few Sixers fans expected him to trade away Jrue Holiday, the team's lone all-star. It would have been less surprising had they shipped out Evan Turner or perhaps Spencer Hawes. But not the point guard who had been the face of the franchise.
Hinkie traded Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for the rights to Nerlens Noel, a 6-foot-11 shot-blocker who left Kentucky after one season and was considered a candidate for the first overall pick.
Noel will be sidelined until at least December while recovering from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, which likely caused him to drop in the first round.
The Sixers also received the Pelicans' 2014 first-round pick, which is protected from picks one through five, for one of their second-round picks (42d) in Thursday's draft.
"It shows how much confidence they have in me," Noel said Thursday after learning he was traded.
That's just part of it.
This move, which becomes official July 11, showed something else: No player is untouchable in the Sixers' quest to free up salary-cap space needed to lure superstar free agents. By getting rid of Holiday's scheduled $11 million deal, they could have as much as $36 million available to sign free agents next summer.
The team found Holiday's replacement with the 11th overall pick in Michael Carter-Williams, a 6-6 point guard out of Syracuse. Carter-Williams, who was expected to be picked earlier than 11th, averaged 7.3 assists (vs. 3.5 turnovers) and had a school-record 111 steals last season. However, he shot just 29 percent on three-pointers.
While he's not Holiday, his expected $1.9 million salary is more manageable. But the Sixers aren't looking for him to be a Holiday clone.
"We'll keep our eyes on the present and the future," Hinkie said of the Sixers' direction. "I don't think you'll see us make a lot of quick fixes."
After additional moves, the Sixers ended up with Iranian Arsalan Kazemi, a 6-8 forward out of Oregon, and two second-round picks in 2014.
Kazemi averaged 9.4 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1.4 assists while shooting 59.5 percent this past season. Kazemi spent his first three seasons at Rice, where he averaged a double-double as a sophomore and junior.
"The ownership here and the people in this organization have a real commitment to build something lasting, and to build something big," Hinkie said. "Sometimes that requires taking risks.
"Often that requires doing things differently - a little differently here and there," Hinkie added, "a lot differently here and there. I think you've seen some of that play out tonight as you sort of see all of the activity that went on."
Contact Keith Pompey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers.