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July 15, 2015

Sixers sign Pierre Jackson to Hinkie Special, create more questions about roster

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If you were hoping that the Sixers would go outside of the organization to upgrade the point guard position, it seems like Sam Hinkie is promoting from within. According to my source (OK, it’s just Instagram), summer league standout Pierre Jackson, aka Pappy Jack, signed with the Sixers on Tuesday night:

How about Hinkie rocking the jeans there? Vegas, baby! If the report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Chis Haynes is accurate, it sounds like another example of the so-called “Hinkie Special,” a four-year minimum (or close enough to it) contract that is pretty much unguaranteed past the first year with a bunch of team options. We’ll have to wait and see what the exact details of Pappy Jack’s deal are, but you have to imagine it’s somewhere in that ballpark. Hollis Thompson, JaKarr Sampson, and Robert Covington are all Sixers currently working under some form of the contract.

The Hinkie Special is an extremely team-friendly deal because there is zero risk. If the player performs well like Covington, you have a legitimate rotation guy making only around one million dollars per year. If the player isn’t performing at a high level or you need to clear a roster spot to make a move, there isn’t any financial penalty for cutting them loose.

Assuming injured second-round pick Richaun Holmes is signed and can rehab his elbow in time for the start of the season, here is roughly what I believe the opening night roster projects to be as it stands now.

PG: Isaiah Canaan, Pierre Jackson, T.J. McConnell, Tony Wroten
SG: Nik Stauskas, Hollis Thompson
SF: Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, JaKarr Sampson
PF: Nerlens Noel, Jason Thompson, Richaun Holmes, Carl Landry
C: Jahlil Okafor, Furkan Aldemir, Joel Embiid ☹

Those are 16 names, which is one too many for the regular season (in the offseason, you can have up to 20). I can’t imagine either Covington or Thompson ever end up getting moved in a minor transaction, but Canaan, McConnell, and even Jackson himself might not feel too comfortable on a team already likely at 16 players counting Holmes. Someone else like Landry could theoretically be moved to clear a roster spot, as well.

In Pappy Jack’s case, even securing a contract from the Sixers is a cool story. Jackson ruptured his Achilles tendon in last season’s Orlando leg of summer league, and while the Sixers waived him, they only did so after signing him to a contract that was worth a guaranteed $400,000 as he rehabbed from injury.

"They didn't have to do that at all," Jackson told reporters. "It means a lot about the organization and what Sam has got going on here so I'm just glad to finally really be a part of it."

Now, with the timeline of Tony Wroten's return from injury still a mystery, he has a great opportunity in front of him. Not only could Jackson make his NBA debut, but he also might play quite a bit, too. 

"Obviously it was devastating when I got hurt, but throughout the whole year, Brett Brown and Sam communicated with me, just keeping my faith up and knowing that they were still interested and ready for me to get back right," he said.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann