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February 19, 2016

After quiet trade deadline, Hinkie talks Colangelo, process and valuing young players

Sixers NBA

Unlike the last two years, Sam Hinkie didn’t talk about important recent transactions in his post trade deadline press conference on Friday at PCOM. Many important team building decisions around the league are getting pushed back to the summer, and that appears to be the case here as well.

So instead, the Philadelphia 76ers president and GM was asked big picture questions such as how his relationship with chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo is going and what stage The Process is currently at.

MORE: Hinkie: Sixers' hope to have Embiid 'raring to go for next season'

And without the presence of Colangelo, who attended the memorial service of Ingrid Williams yesterday in Oklahoma City with Brett Brown, Hinkie was hitting all of the patient, long-term notes that we have come to expect over his two-and-a-half years in Philly.

“One of the things that we talk about is the old saying that you don’t get to the moon by climbing a tree and being able to report progress branch by branch,” Hinkie said. “That’s not real.”

(The moon/tree quote should debut at number two on The Process Analogy Power Rankings, just behind planting seeds for harvest.)

The only transaction that the Sixers made on Thursday was a minor, financially motivated trade that netted them veteran center Joel Anthony and a second-round pick. With the exception of JaKarr Sampson (who might be coming back, anyway), the roster stayed intact at the deadline.

According to Hinkie, there was still “significant interest” in younger players such as Robert Covington and Jerami Grant. What exactly that means is unknown, but it’s clear that the Sixers placed more value in keeping their young guys around than whatever return they could get back for them in a trade.

“One of the things that we talk about is the old saying that you don’t get to the moon by climbing a tree and being able to report progress branch by branch. That’s not real.”

“We felt better maybe this time than we did at others about keeping this group together and keeping those particular players,” Hinkie said. “Part of the reason to invest in young players so much is so that you might keep them for a very long time.”

As for Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, the players who very likely have the highest trade value on the team?

“Most teams around the league call and talk about them,” Hinkie said. “But they understand where we’ve been and that these are the highest selected players on our team and people that are really key to us.”

Since December, the presence of Colangelo has sparked much interest in the inner workings of the Sixers front office. Who is in charge? How does it work? What has to happen when a big decision comes up?

There weren’t any big decisions made on Thursday, but Colangelo raised some eyebrows over the All-Star break when openly talking about the possibility of bringing in new faces to the front office. What does that mean for the current GM?

While Hinkie made it sound like his job isn’t in jeopardy, he agreed with Colangelo.

“It’s the kind of thing we talk about a lot, not on that particular topic [a new GM], but on a wide array of topics” Hinkie said. “How to make our organization better, I spend 300 days a year thinking about just that, about what you can do to move the organization forward.”

Around the trade deadline, Hinkie said that he called Colangelo “a couple times per day” when deals were close. According to Hinkie, he then picked 76-year-old executive’s brain and asked questions about what Colangelo knew from his past experiences.

“When the actual transaction went down, I called a few of our owners and Jerry in that order,” Hinkie said. “We talked about it, made sure everybody was comfortable with it, and we executed the trade.”

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann