The idea of removing Sam Hinkie from his position is easy enough to accept in principle. You can be a devout believer in his plan and still see why an exit was looming. In the cutthroat world of professional sports, a mountain of losses could get even the brightest mind pushed out, passively or aggressively.
But if the details of Adrian Wojnarowski's latest report are to be believed -- betting against Woj isn't generally smart money -- the process that led to Hinkie's exit is a mockery of the highest order. Let's hit on the finer points:
On his resignation letter:
Hinkie emailed his resignation letter in the afternoon to Sixers ownership, including 12 majority and minority owners, and Jerry Colangelo. He expected ownership to respond to him and work toward a joint public announcement on Thursday, sources said. Within two hours of sending the email, the letter had been leaked - Jerry Colangelo was Hinkie's strong suspicion, sources said - to a media outlet.
Hinkie was mortified to see his words in the public arena, never expecting that a private correspondence to his superiors would become public and turn into something of a mocked manifesto. He wanted to tell his staff of his decision on late Wednesday or Thursday morning, once he talked with ownership about how his departure would be made public.
Hinkie never had the chance. The news was out, and Hinkie had lost control of his departure. His staff learned of his resignation in the news.
One of the biggest criticisms of Hinkie was his supposed inability to connect with others or be a "people person", whether that meant executing deals with other front offices or trying to spread his message to residents of the Philadelphia area.
Based on the picture painted by Woj here, Jerry Colangelo was instrumental in eliminating the human element that Hinkie wanted to apply to his departure from the organization. The guy who is supposed to be improving the franchises's reputation and building bridges is slashing and burning behind the scenes, creating inner turmoil at a time when confidence and unity are needed most. That is the exact opposite of leadership.
On his standing within the organization:
From the moment Colangelo arrived on the job in December, Hinkie was doomed - no matter how hard Hinkie tried to work with Colangelo, no matter how hard he tried to accept and implement his advice. Around Hinkie, people were surprised at how optimistic he had been about finding a way to coexist with Colangelo, about working together. Others were far more cynical about how this would end - and turned out to be right.
In the end, Colangelo wanted two things: to turn Hinkie into a glorified director of analytics, or run him out completely, sources said. In several parts of the Sixers' ownership group that wasn't well-received. Even today, Hinkie still holds strong support with several members of the Sixers' ownership group. They believed his plan could have harvested results this summer, sources said, and that he should've been afforded more time on this grand experiment.
We see a common theme start to build here. Hinkie and Colangelo have talked openly about collaboration and synergy of ideas since the elder executive was hired, but it's quite clear Colangelo had only one goal in mind -- power, and the death of Hinkie and his "Process".
The fact that members of the ownership group still supported Hinkie is the cherry on top of a shit sundae. It displays a level of uncertainty and chaos that should send fear into the hearts of all Sixers fans. Hinkie being out is one thing; having a group unaligned in goals and unaware of what to do about it is a toxic mix.
In the interest of not turning this into a copy and paste fest, you can read the rest here, but I have a few things to say.
I have been willing to give Jerry Colangelo the benefit of the doubt since he was brought on board. The Suns failure to win a title was not necessarily an indictment of his management style; being realistically in the mix for a title is all you can ask for, and several teams in Phoenix got within striking distance.
But no longer am I willing to sit back and say, "Maybe he'll get it right here."
The worst accusations levied at Sam Hinkie were ad-hominem attacks, labeling him a snake-oil salesman, a fraud and nothing more than a numbers whiz. It's evident that the only snake-oil salesman in this operation was the aging crusader kicking back in his lounge chair in Phoenix.
One reflexive response to our coverage here has been to accuse the lot of us as being "Hinkie fans" and not Sixers fans. There is a reason that dynamic exists -- unlike in the case of many executives who have ravaged the team's future ability to be great, I can look at the moves Hinkie made and earnestly say he made them with the best interest of the team's future in mind. Quibble with his approach, the extremity of the losing and the individual moves if you will, but re-stocking the cupboard was a clear (and noble) objective.
Colangelo's interests are much more loathsome and self-serving. He has shown himself to be duplicitous, acting as the kind old man in public while cutting people down at the knees in private, all in order to install his trust-fund kid at the head of the operation.
The best organizations all over the world -- the San Antonio Spurs, FC Barcelona, Google and Apple -- utilize the strength of groups, knowing the power of one man (or one family) is inferior to the ability of a collective. Yet Colangelo has shown since the very beginning, and now in the hiring of his son Bryan, that he sees nothing outside of his tunnel vision. Perhaps that's because it's hard to see well when the entity you're in charge of is 2,000 fucking miles away.
The Sixers are a clown show, and Jerry Colangelo is the face of it. Say hi to Bozo, everybody.