HOUSTON — Maybe the first sign of progress was that this time Royce White didn’t react to the notion of being assigned to the NBA D-League by fire-bombing the Rockets organization via Twitter.
In fact, the 16th pick in the draft, who suffers from anxiety disorder and has butted heads with Rockets management since training camp, did not even Tweet a hint that he was joining the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Bakersfield, Calif. and would be available to play in Sunday night’s game against the Jam.
The 6-foot-8 forward out of Iowa State has been at odds with the Rockets due to what he claims is their unwillingness to accommodate his condition. The team had re-worked his contract to make provisions for White to sometimes travel between games by bus, since anxiety about flying is one of the symptoms of his illness.
White did not report to the Rockets’ training camp in Hidalgo, Tex., home to the Vipers and, after getting no playing time in the first five games of the regular season, he went AWOL following a game at Memphis on Nov. 9. He remained at odds with the club when management insisted that he attend therapy sessions with a psychologist of their choosing, but has since agreed to terms and evidently been working to heal the wounds.
White resumed working out at the Toyota Center during the past week while the Rockets have been on the road. Sources have indicated that the next step in having him go to the D-League is part of a multi-week plan to fully integrate White back into the Rockets organization.
There is no timetable for White to return to the Rockets roster.