Hinkie confident Sixers' teardown will help build them back up

Posted: February 24, 2014

STRIP IT DOWN and build it back up. That is the plan, in a nutshell, put together by 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie. After Thursday's activity at the trade deadline, the team looks as though a tornado came through, leaving only a few leftover pieces with which to build. And after things are reassessed following this season, perhaps those few remaining pieces could be disregarded, as well.

Hinkie's hyperactive day produced six second-round draft picks, five new players (one of whom was waived yesterday), and the departures Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. They are not turn-the-program-around moves, as a ton of work still must be done for that to happen. But this, Hinkie says, was the right beginning - along with the drafting of Michael Carter-Williams and the draft-night trade that brought in Nerlens Noel and a high first-round pick - start the overhaul.

The first reaction of many was the same: Why were Turner and Hawes worth only second-round picks? Why no first-rounders?

"I think all three of them [including Allen] are playing at a career-best level," Hinkie said yesterday at a news conference to discuss the deals. "Sometimes it's about the timing of the league. Some of those guys belong in a place. Evan is in Indiana. Indiana is going to be playing in at least May if not June, and this is a time for him to be there. And some of the things we took back are set for the future, or a second in this year's draft or something else. Those are things that are more appropriate for where we are.

"We're trying to acquire things that will help us move forward, and the net result of what happened [Thursday] is we picked up six additional second-round picks. Sometimes it's the players you select, sometimes it's the players you can trade for in using them, sometimes it's the combining them to move other places to do other things."

Things will certainly be done, as Hinkie's moves will leave them this summer close $30 million under the salary cap. He also could have a pick in the top three (the Sixers' own) and another in the top 12 (from New Orleans).

The material is out there to be gotten, now the Sixers must find the best equipment to become relevant again. Hinkie thinks Thursday will make the process a bit easier.

"You often don't know, so you don't know how it might play out, and you don't know what might be available," he said. "Lots of things come across the transom, lots of things you look at. It's part of what we try to do, to have a lot of interesting opportunities to look at. It's important. I think many years will come and go where you'll have lots of opportunities and you'll say no to all of them, and it will look like nothing happened because nothing actually transpired. This year, enough things came along that were interesting. I would say that some of the picks - people sort of lump picks together, 'Aw, it's just a second' - some of the picks are quite interesting, some of the picks are quite high and could be even higher. That has real value."

He was speaking of the second-round picks just acquired, but there is no denying the real, immediate excitement that will come with those two first-round picks in June.

"I think as we get close to the draft, the talent evaluators all start to downplay expectations, 'Oh, it's not quite as good as we thought.' It looks quite strong," Hinkie said. "All the best teams have been built around great players. Great players. And we're going to be particularly focused on that for a while in finding great players who can lead us forward."

The players the team received were unavailable for last night's game against Dallas. Guard Eric Maynor suited, but didn't play. Centers Byron Mullens and Henry Sims were en route, as was forward Danny Granger. The team announced yesterday it had had waived Earl Clark.

Granger's situation is still up in the air. Once a star in Indiana, the 30-year-old was simply a salary dump for the Pacers in the deal that got them Turner and Allen. His future here, if any, is unclear.

"Danny, I hold in really high esteem," Hinkie said. "It's going to be interesting. We're just going to sit and talk like men and say, 'What is it that you want out of the rest of this year?' Talk about shell shocked. He's been in one place his whole career, has had a heck of a career already, and I think has a good bit to go. We're going to talk to him about what it is he wants and what kind of role he sees on our team, and vice versa. Where that goes I don't exactly know."

Which also can be said about this organization's future at this point.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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