Former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie pounded the table for the team to draft then-injured Joel Embiid back in 2013, and the selection has turned out to be a stroke of genius. Embiid is an All-Star two-way player at 26 years old, and a fan favorite.
But the Sixers feel like they're spinning their wheels, with a startling amount of money tied up in big contracts and no Conference Finals appearances to show for it.
So, because this is what we do in 2020, the Sixers' offseason has seen an abundance of trade machine ideas surrounding Embiid and Ben Simmons, particularly since news broke of Daryl Morey joining the team as President of Basketball Operations.
Hinkie doesn't like the idea.
During his podcast appearance this week on ESPN Daily, Hinkie was asked by host Pablo Torre about what goes through his mind when he sees trade rumors or chatter about Embiid and Simmons:
"Oh, gosh. Don't people remember what it took to get them? For all of them. I mean, getting a star player in the NBA is not impossibly hard, but close. It requires either an incredible amount of luck, or an amazing amount of time, or some other way to try and get at it. So to have a ... young player who is nominally, in a traditional sense, just entering his prime, and say, 'Oh we've got to [blank].' No.
"Job one is, you've got to get great players on your team. That's job one. And he is one. So I would be - I'm not alone on this - loathe to think, 'We have to do anything that requires you to potentially move a great player.' They don't move very much for a reason, because people rightfully don't let them go for a reason."
Hinkie makes a compelling argument. Hinkie and the Sixers stripped the team for parts, acquired assets, and then hoped and prayed they'd get a shot at someone as talented as Embiid, and then again with Simmons, while being bad on the court for two-plus years waiting for them to heal up enough to play.
It worked, but it cost Hinkie his job, and put an unusually bright spotlight on the Sixers' young stars.
Can you imagine if all that work was ultimately for nothing? Just to watch Embiid thrive somewhere else?
It would be brutal, for Hinkie and for Sixers fans everywhere. (Hinkie, for what it's worth, still considers himself a Sixers fan, and tries to watch "a bunch" of games despite living on the West Coast.)
It remains to be seen what Morey will do with the Sixers roster, as it is currently constructed. If he thinks anything like his good friend Hinkie, his first move won't involve moving his best player.