There are so many things the Sixers could have done with their cap space this season. They could have went out and spent on mid-level free agents in hopes of filling a team good enough to compete for an eighth seed. They could have brought in a handful of veterans to teach their up and comers; guys like the great Earl Watson.
Instead, Sam Hinkie opted to spend cheaply, fielding a roster with a combined salary of just over $41 million, and nearly $22 million in cap space. On deadline day, Hinkie showed fans and media alike why that was the smartest decision of all.
Keeping that space available allowed the Sixers to take advantage of a team that had previously spent their cap space unwisely, just like they have time and time before. This time it was the Denver Nuggets, who so desperately wanted to unload JaVale McGee and the $12 million he was due next season that they were willing to attach a first round pick to his name for literally nothing in return. Any team with the cap space to do that likely would have jumped at the opportunity. Only Philadelphia had the financial ability to make it work, and still have some cap space to spare.
McGee will likely never play a game in a Sixers uniform, but that's not the important part. What matters is that Sam Hinkie is using his cap space in the wisest way possible -- setting the team up with future assets. Spending money now on longterm contracts (like Denver did!) would just set the team back. Instead, the Sixers gave themselves enough flexibility to be the only team capable of helping teams who need a bailout, and doing it at a premium.
Judging by most reactions in Denver, they didn't even care that their collapsing team just lost a valuable asset that could help them rebuild. They were just relieved to have McGee's contract off the books.
The Sixers are robbing teams at gunpoint, and they're being thanked for their efforts.
Not to mention, provided that Oklahoma City makes a playoff run, Philadelphia will now have three picks in a solid 2015 NBA draft. The more chances you have at selecting young talent, the more likely it is you'll be able to strike gold. Philadelphia is doing exactly that. With their good track record with finding talent all over the draft board, there is no reason to believe they won't be able to do it again.
The NBA will always have their fair share of dumb teams who misspend, like Denver. The league will always have smart people who manage money and assets well, like Sam Hinkie and the Sixers.
And when the two face off, Sam Hinkie and the Sixers will win every single time.