Sam Hinkie

'The Process' is over in Philadelphia, long live 'The Process'

'The Process' is over in Philadelphia, long live 'The Process'

The Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday executed the latest in a seemingly endless series of roster resets. The team traded Jimmy Butler to Miami in a sign-and-trade for guard Josh Richardson, and signed veteran big man Al Horford, formerly of Boston, to a four-year deal. In addition, Tobias Harris remained with the Sixers, signing a five-year deal worth $180 million. 

There were many reactions to the moves from Sixers fans, and one thing I heard more than once was that these moves represent the official end of The Process. This was part of the sports talk radio chatter on Sunday, as well as the latest salvo in the never-ending argument over Sam Hinkie and whether his multiyear strategy of extreme tanking was worth the trouble. 

But then I realized something: over the course of the last four years, I've heard "the end of the Process" declared many, many times. 

For example:

Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast, in December 2015, discussed "The End of the Process," after the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo in a front office position giving him power over Hinkie. 

Hinkie’s resignation, in April of 2016, led Sports Illustrated to declare that the general manager’s departure “put the process in doubt.” A year later, David J. Roth would write for Vice that Hinkie’s departure “brought The Process era to an end in Philadelphia.”

The Fansided blog Sir Charles In Charge asked, at the start of the season in September 2016, whether that team's improved chances represented "the end of the Process.

Then-Sixer Nik Stauskas declared in a 2017 interview with The Score that "it's time that The Process is over, it's time that we start winning games, and start competing."

The Sixer Sense podcast declared in June 2017, after the Sixers moved up to draft Markelle Fultz, that it marked "The end of the Process." 

In a tweet in November of 2017, local PR guy Brian Hart declared the game-winning shot by J.J. Redick in an early-season game against Orlando "the end of The Process." 

Sports Illustrated wrote that “The Process is Over” in a December 2017 issue, because the team was ready to win. 

NBA writer Chris Sheridan, who would later emerge as a Sixers enemy for unrelated reasons, declared at the start of the playoffs in April 2018 that The Process was over and it was time to win. 

The Ringer, in a piece by local writer John Gonzalez, declared "The End of the Process" when the Sixers traded for Jimmy Butler in November 2018, in part because two of the players they gave up, Robert Covington and Dario Saric, were cornerstones of the Hinkie era. 

T.J. McConnell, who has played for the Sixers for the entire era, wrote a Players Tribune piece in December 2018 with the headline "The Process Is Over." 

The Washington Post asked "Is this actually the end of The Process?" in February of 2019, after the team's deadline trade for Tobias Harris. 

Bob Ford, in a Philadelphia Inquirer column that same week, asked whether the Harris trade represented the end of the Process, in the sense that it was the final cashing-in of assets that had been accumulated over time, as asset accumulation was a key tenet of the Hinkie strategy. 

"What if the end of the process was the lucky Kawhi shot?," Jason McIntyre wrote on Twitter Sunday, in reference to Kawhi Leonard's last-second shot in Game 7 of the Sixers' playoff series against Toronto, in May 2019. 

Bob Ford, once again, addressed the subject in an early June column, ultimately concluding that the three GMs -- Hinkie, Bryan Colangelo, and Elton Brand -- will represent “the beginning, middle, and end of The Process.” 

Which event really marked the end of The Process? There's really no right answer. 

The Process, after all, is something of a nebulous concept with no official definition, especially as fans continue to chant "Trust the Process" at home games and Joel Embiid has even adopted The Process as a nickname. 

Is The Process merely a euphemism for Sam Hinkie's tenure as general manager, and the resulting run of losing seasons? Does it count only the tanking period, or all events that flowed from it in the years afterward? Or does the Process continue for as long as any players that came to the Sixers as a result of Hinkie's strategy remain on the team, and therefore as long as they have a nucleus that's led by Embiid and Simmons? 

The two events with the greatest claim to represent the end of the Process are probably Hinkie’s resignation in 2016, and the trade of Covington and Saric for Butler in 2018. But it’s absolutely defensible to place the beginning of the Process at the moment of Hinkie’s hiring, and the end at whatever time the last players from that era depart. Your mileage may vary on that, as will that of the entirety of the local and national sports media. 

In the meantime, I can absolutely see Joel Embiid, in 15 years, announcing his retirement from basketball, and the local media declaring that No. 21’s retirement marks, at last, the official end of The Process.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

The Sixers are loaded — take that, Sam Hinkie!

The Sixers are loaded — take that, Sam Hinkie!

The Sixers are 36-20. They're fourth in the Eastern Conference, and they've been getting big wins over good teams. They've even made multiple trades, in which they've given up future draft choices in favor of talented players.

Sam Hinkie must absolutely hate it. 

I really don't understand the Hinkie people. For all those years, they rooted for open losing, no spending, and endless accumulating of second-round picks. Now, they want to trade draft picks — even second-rounders! — acquire veterans, and try to win. Why the double standard? 

I just can't believe anyone is claiming that Hinkie's "Process" led to the Sixers' success today. Please. Hinkie wanted to draft Andrew Wiggins instead of Embiid. Ben Simmons was drafted by Bryan Colangelo. All of Hinkie's draft capital led us to Markelle Fultz, so in a way that one's on him too. 

Michael Carter-Williams isn't walking through that door. Neither is Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor.

What's even better is that unlike in the Hinkie years, the Sixers are actually listening to the fans. Last Tuesday, a fan at the game yelled at Elton Brand to "make some moves." Brand traded for Tobias Harris hours later, and made two more trades that week. The lesson is clear: Heckling team executives in public gets results. 

The Sixers are well-positioned for a playoff run, and possibly even a multi-year run of success. And all it took was the effort of the general manager two general managers after Sam Hinkie. 

We're okay, as long as Joel Embiid doesn't get hurt, Jimmy Butler doesn't poison the locker room, and Ben Simmons doesn't force a trade to the Lakers. I told you that Kardashian girl was bad news! 

Eagles QB Drama

My solution to the quarterback dilemma is simple: Keep both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles, by paying them both extra money under the table. What, like the Patriots haven't been doing that with Brady for 15 years. 

Meanwhile, we've got this so-called investigative story where a bunch of anonymous Eagles players called Carson Wentz "selfish." Now, I'm not sure I believe it, even after Carson gave that interview where he admitted that he can be selfish. 

But Carson put all our fears to rest Sunday when he sat next to wide receiver and possible anonymous source Alshon Jeffrey at the Sixers game. It was like when Tony, Carmela, Christopher, and Adriana all went to Vesuvios together, so everyone would see them together and getting along. Although I just hope Carson didn't overhear Alshon telling someone that he really does know Johnny Ola — I mean, Joseph Santoliquito. 

Other Philly sports takes: 

- Now that we didn't have a Wing Bowl, and the Eagles didn't win the Super Bowl, can we make it a goal in 2020 to bring back both? 

- I know it's been over a year now, but I'm still really angry that the media lied about the crowd size at the Eagles' Super Bowl parade. 

- I'm OK with the Phillies signing Manny Machado, but only on the condition that his contract is voided the first time he doesn't run hard to first base. That's reasonable, right? 

- Saints fans are pathetic whiners, the biggest crybabies in sports. That said, if a call like that cost the Eagles a playoff game, we'd have burned the league office to the ground. 

- Come on, give me one good reason why Lenny Dykstra isn't on the Phillies' Wall of Fame? 

Follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

Sixers have filed trademark for 'Trust the Process,' the unofficial motto of Sam Hinkie's regime

USA Today Images

Sixers have filed trademark for 'Trust the Process,' the unofficial motto of Sam Hinkie's regime

From a few innocuous words out of Tony Wroten's mouth to a phrase the Sixers are trying to trademark.

"Trust the Process" has come a long way.

The Sixers filed a trademark on Sept. 26 for the iconic rallying cry/motto/beacon of hope in the face of ceaseless losing.

The trademark indicates the Sixers plan to use "Trust the Process" to advertise their basketball camps, dance team clinics and just about everything in between.

"Trust the Process" has had a long and winding history. Joel Embiid (who, of course, goes by "The Process"), first tweeted it on Nov. 19, 2014. And the phrase picked up traction after Tony Wroten used it in an article by ESPN's Pablo Torre on then-GM Sam Hinkie's ambitious rebuild.

From there, "Trust the Process" kind of took on a life of its own. 

You just lost by 40 points? Trust the Process. It's all part of the plan.

Embiid finally played NBA basketball and looked like a generational talent? Trust the Process. All the losing was worth it.

GM caught up in a bizarre scandal involving his wife using burner Twitter accounts? Trust the Process. Weird stuff happens sometimes.

In a few years, the Sixers have gone from trying to distance themselves from Hinkie and his approach to fully embracing it, or at least the phrase that embodies what he was all about. 

Regardless of who technically first said the three words "Trust the Process" consecutively (probably some random guy hundreds of years ago), there's no doubt Hinkie is the spiritual originator.

Even if Markelle Fultz actually thought he invented the phrase ...  

More on the Sixers