HOUSTON – Already on the same team since they drafted him with the No. 16 pick in the draft, the Rockets and Royce White might finally be on the same page.
White and the club released a joint statement Saturday that says they have “an agreement that addresses the major issues,” that White is no longer suspended and will be immediately reinstated to the roster.
The rookie forward has agreed to report to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League on Feb. 11, after first working on conditioning in Houston. The Vipers have a home game against the Maine Red Claws on Feb. 12.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and White did not comment on the agreement. The settlement was approved by the NBA office and the players’ union.
After months of acrimony, which included White taking to Twitter to accuse the Rockets of “inconsistent support” for his generalized anxiety disorder, the settlement at long last gets a player the Rockets had rated as among the top five talents in the 2012 draft.
Despite his individual skills, White’s stock had dropped in the draft due to his mental condition as few clubs were willing to even consider the special circumstances that would be needed to deal with the player’s issues, which include anxiety over airline travel.
White surprised the Rockets by not reporting to training camp and then, after what appeared to be a truce, left them again in early November, accusing them of not agreeing to a special set of “protocols.”
White had resumed individual workouts with a member of the Rockets staff while the team was on the road during Christmas week, but was suspended on Jan. 6, a week after refusing an assignment to the Vipers. Morey then said they were suspending White “for refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract.”
Now, three months into the season, the battles might finally be just about basketball.