Photo via AP

Per ESPN’s Marc Stein, Sam Hinkie has stepped down as the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers (unless he in fact had some different post with “Philadelphial”?).

This move has looked likely since December when the NBA—presumably realizing that the team in its sixth-largest city maybe shouldn’t be run into the ground in the hope of accruing an endless series of draft picks—installed Jerry Colangelo into the front office. The timing of Hinkie’s departure is rather curious given that he just went on Zach Lowe’s podcast yesterday and talked a whole lot about how the Sixers are just a normal team like anyone else and that losing sometimes happens and they’re not that different.

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It would be near-impossible for Philly to pivot from a clearinghouse for draft rights to a real actual NBA team anytime soon, but this likely spells the end to the heinous Process. Woj is reporting that Bryan Colangelo is in line to take over.

We’ll update this post when more information becomes available.

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Update: Woj is also reporting that, in addition to the younger Colangelo, deposed Hawks GM Danny Ferry may also share a top front office role.

ESPN’s story on the change includes an excerpt from a 13-page letter he wrote to the team’s owners, and it looks like Hinkie was pretty unsettled about his role. This makes sense given the pressure he detailed to Lowe, telling him he’d lost 20 pounds over the first half of the season out of stress. Here’s the letter:

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In a letter to members of the Sixers’ ownership group, obtained by ESPN.com, Hinkie wrote: “There has been much criticism of our approach. There will be more. A competitive league like the NBA necessitates a zig while our competitors comfortably zag. We often chose not to defend ourselves against much of the criticism, largely in an effort to stay true to the ideal of having the longest view in the room.

“... Given all the changes to our organization, I no longer have the confidence that I can make good decisions on behalf of investors in the Sixers — you. So I should step down. And I have.”

Update: Hmmmm, here are two conflicting reports about whather or not the Sixers were going to fire Hinkie.

Update: Here’s Philly’s official statement.