Posts Tagged ‘Royce White’

Kings’ Royce White quietly plays for the first time

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Royce White finally made his NBA debut Friday night, and the strangest thing happened.

Nothing.

No bright spotlight after all the attention of the last two seasons, no great expectations after entering the league as the No. 16 pick in 2012 with a unique skill set that intrigued front offices, no memorable moments after all the regrettable moments. Just a guy on a second 10-day contract going in for the last 56.1 seconds with his team about to lose by 20 points, hoping for the chance to show he deserves to be signed for the rest of what little remains of the season.

Friday night at Sleep Train Arena was about the Spurs extending their win streak to 12 despite shooting 38.7 percent in a 99-79 victory, not White getting on the court for the first time in a regular-season game as a member of his third team in the NBA, not to mention two in the D-League. This was not such a bad thing. After all the acrimony in his relationship with the Rockets, the team that drafted him as a 6-foot-8, 250-pounder who could cause matchup problems as a point forward, after being dumped on the 76ers in a trade and being cut before playing for Philadelphia, simple was fine.

And simple was what he got: 56 seconds and zeroes across the stat line after one practice and one shootaround with the Kings as coach Michael Malone gave White a quick run in advance of the longer looks that will surely come in the days ahead, starting Sunday against the Bucks at Sleep Train.

The important detail, White said, is that those days ahead will include next Friday at Oklahoma City. At Oklahoma City. He will be on the team charter, in other words, hoping to put to rest any uncertainty about whether anxiety issues and subsequent disagreements on treatment and how to handle difficulty with flying contributed to a contentious relationship with the Rockets.

White said he will be at every game if he is eventually signed for the rest of the season, with travel details to be worked out amid the possibility of being able to drive from OKC to Dallas, for example, for the back-to-back. Those are things that can be discussed if their arrangement becomes something more than the 10-day deal he signed March 6 to join the Kings’ D-League affiliate in Reno, followed by another 10-day on March 18.

One of the only things he knows for sure at this point is that it feels different than his season with the Rockets of disagreements over treatments and D-League stints with Rio Grande Valley that led nowhere.

“Oh, yeah,” White said. “It feels a lot different. In all fairness to Houston, they were in a much different position. A lot of things, they couldn’t make a ruling on themselves as much as the league. They had to wait on a lot of OKs and things from people. It was a real complex situation. But it feels very different. Everything’s different. The organization’s different, the city’s different, the people are different, my teammates are different.”

“Are you different?”

“I’m probably the least different out of the entire equation,” White said. “But I’m in a different place. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the ability to have a successful career in this league.”

He went unsigned for three-quarters of 2013-14 in a dramatic lack of interest for a first-round pick a season before, so White admits this could be his chance — ” Those thoughts do come where it’s like, ‘If this doesn’t work out, will I even go at it again?’ “

This is a very good place to start the comeback, though, or, really, start the start. The Kings need talent, White has that, and the Kings are in the unwanted perfect position at 24-45 to use the final three weeks to try out players and lineups.

Plus, they need him almost as much as he needs them. Sacramento is desperate for distributors, one of the reasons they will look at other point guards in the summer even if Isaiah Thomas is re-signed as a restricted free agent, as expected, and White’s draft stock was based largely on his passing ability from either forward spot. If DeMarcus Cousins is a scorer, Rudy Gay is a scorer and Thomas is a scorer, having someone at any position capable of delivering the ball would be welcome.

“The question was asked yesterday, ‘Is your hope that Royce’s playmaking ability, do you hope that’s contagious?’ ” Malone said. “Obviously you don’t want to be a team that is just a dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot and not pass to the open man. We want to be a team that’s hard to guard…. Having a guy out there that will make plays for his teammates and find the open man is always is a welcome sight for us.”

There was no chance in 56.1 seconds to see any of that Friday. But there was an appearance. It was a start, and after everything that has happened in two seasons, that was more than nothing.

Morning Shootaround — March 21


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played March 20

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Nash to return tonight | Clips get Redick, Crawford back at practice | Kings’ White may make NBA debut tonight | Kerr: NBA teams like Hoiberg

No. 1: Report: Nash planning to play tonight vs. Wizards — We informed you in this space yesterday that what seemed like a foregone conclusion — Steve Nash‘s season being over — might soon be be completely reversed. That is no less true today as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Nash should suit up and play tonight for the Lakers’ home game against the Washington Wizards:

After five weeks on the sidelines, Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash is planning a return to the lineup on Friday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Lakers, left with only one healthy point guard, are planning to use Nash as a backup to Kendall Marshall against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center.

Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, participated in a full practice session with the Lakers on Thursday.

After recently ruling out Nash’s return, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni changed course on Wednesday and suggested Nash could return over the final 15 games of the regular season.

D’Antoni informed reporters that guard Nick Young and forward Jordan Hill would return from injuries on Friday, too. The Lakers lost point guard Jordan Farmar to an injury this week.

Nash, 40, has suffered from nerve damage in his back and hamstring injuries this season. Nash, who hasn’t played a game since Feb. 11, has averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists in 10 games.


VIDEO: Coach Mike D’Antoni addresses the state of the Lakers’ roster

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No. 2: Redick, Crawford back at Clippers practice — You’re not that far off in thinking it seems like the Los Angeles Clippers have been dealing with injuries to their backcourt practically all season long. Point guard Chris Paul missed several weeks with a shoulder injury, J.J. Redick has been in and out of the lineup with various maladies and Jamal Crawford (calf) has been the most recent casualty of late. But things are looking up for the Clips, perhaps, at just the right time as Redick and Crawford practiced with the team yesterday, writes Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:

Doc Rivers and his coaching staff had a plan for the Clippers’ practices on Thursday and Friday. They were coming off two days of rest, a rare gift from NBA schedule-makers.

Then, for the best possible reasons, Rivers tore up those plans.

J.J. Redick (back) and Jamal Crawford (calf) were cleared to practice, and with the team still trying incorporate new acquisitions Glen Davis and Danny Granger, Rivers thought better of trying to use the time to add new things.

“There are just too many guys coming back now,” Rivers said before Thursday’s practice. “As a staff, we basically scratched all the stuff that we were going to do. There are too many guys coming back, and we’ve just got to get them back playing basketball.”

Redick hasn’t played since Feb. 3 because of a bulging disk in his lower back. He ramped up his individual workouts in recent weeks in hopes of returning this season.

There’s still no date targeted for when he’ll play in a game again.

Crawford first strained his left calf Feb. 26. He tried to return March 8, but he admitted that was too soon.

After working on strengthening the muscle, Crawford went through an individual workout Wednesday and came through it with confidence.

He said the plan is for him to play Saturday against the Pistons.

“Rhythm, wind and stamina will come back at some point. I just want to make sure I don’t hurt the calf and feel confident.” Crawford said. “I can get in shape fast and get my wind back, but the peace of mind that nothing will happen if I do a certain move or change a certain direction, that’s more important.”

Darren Collison, who missed the last two games with a stomach virus, also returned to practice.

Thursday was the first time this season Rivers was able to hold a full practice with the current roster.


VIDEO:
Jamal Crawford talks about his return to Clippers practice

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No. 3: Kings’ White ready to make his NBA debut Royce White, the 16th pick of the 2012 Draft, has experienced a long and winding road in and out of the NBA since that night. White, who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, never played in an NBA game with the Houston Rockets (the team that drafted him). He was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason and while he played in the preseason, he was cut before the opener of the 2013-14 season. The Sacramento Kings signed White to a 10-day contract on March 6 and to a second 10-day deal last week. He’s spent time with the Kings’ NBA D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, and was called up to the team and could play in an actual NBA game tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

Players signing 10-day contracts usually isn’t big news.

But most players who sign 10-day contracts aren’t fewer than two years removed from being a first-round draft pick and have never played in an NBA regular-season game.

White, 22, was selected by Houston with the 16th pick in the 2012 draft. White, however, never played a game for the Rockets. White and Houston never agreed on the best way to deal with his mental-health concerns. White has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which leaves him susceptible to panic attacks and having a fear of flying.

White said those issues are not a problem with the Kings after his experience with Houston, which eventually traded White to Philadelphia. The 76ers waived him before the the start of this season.

“I think (the issues) kind of resolved themselves over time,” White said Thursday after his first practice with the Kings. “Just me being in the league for a year and a half and having things be on the table with the league and the union and discussing it put this organization in a better position to handle things. It’s been so good we haven’t even had a discussion about anything. That’s exciting.”

The Kings went into the first 10-day contract with a plan of how to bring White along, beginning with a four-game stint in the D-League. He spent last weekend working out in Sacramento before signing his second 10-day deal. White said the process of joining the Kings has gone well, and that it began with a workout in late February.

“It happened really quick, but we still did it in a way that was really thought out,” White said. “We took a number of things into account. (General manager Pete D’Alessandro) has been great and understanding with me, where I’m coming from, where I want to go and how that fits into the Kings’ organization and being real flexible with me, and I really appreciate that.”

After White’s first practice with the Kings, coach Michael Malone said he was impressed with his strength, passing and basketball IQ.

Malone said White would be treated like every other player on the roster. When asked if there were any concerns, the coach said, “Not at all.” Malone said if White doesn’t play tonight, he would against Milwaukee on Sunday.

“This whole process between Royce and the Sacramento Kings is about him as a basketball player,” Malone said. “He did everything that we asked him to do up in Reno. He’s been tremendous while he’s been in Sacramento. No problems at all. No worries from our standpoint as a coaching staff. We’re going to expect him to do what everybody else is expected to do. Show up on time, work hard, pay attention, be disciplined and buy in to what we’re trying to do. He appears to be ready, willing and able to do that.”

Regarding rumors and stories that have been written about White and the issues that have delayed his pro career, White said: “Read what you want. There’s nothing I can really say in a sentence. There’s a lot of things I want people to know.”


VIDEO: Royce White talks about potentially making his NBA debut tonight

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No. 4: Kerr: NBA teams interested in Cyclones’ Hoiberg – Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has a pretty extensive NBA resume, boasting 10 seasons as a player in the league plus a season as the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. At ISU, he’s led the Cyclones to three NCAA tournament appearances in his four seasons in Ames, Iowa, and, according to TNT analyst Steve Kerr, Hoiberg has a future as an NBA coach. Randy Peterson of The Des Moines Register has more:

Fred Hoiberg’s future as an NBA coach rests with him — and him only — says a former NBA player and executive.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people in the NBA. The minute he says he’s interested, he’ll have some offers,” said Steve Kerr, part of the television crew calling this weekend’s NCAA Tournament for TNT.

Hoiberg has acknowledged that he had head coaching inquiries from NBA franchises that he would not identify. He said he hasn’t let it extend beyond the inquiry stage.

“Nothing got to the point where there was an offer,” Hoiberg, 41, said when his contract was re-worked last summer.

If Hoiberg accepts a head coaching or general manager position in the NBA before his contract expires, he owes Iowa State $500,000. His buyout increases to $2 million if he accepts another Division I head coaching position.

In other words, if he’s ever going to leave Ames, it’d make most sense to go to the NBA.

Hoiberg has an 88-46 record in his fourth season as the coach.

Hoiberg has ties to Minnesota, as a player and front-office administrator for the NBA’s Timberwolves. His family, however, is in Ames.

“It’s been great for me to be home,” Hoiberg told reporters at last season’s NCAA Tournament. “I grew up five blocks from Hilton Coliseum, used to walk to games. I was a ball boy as a kid. I was a ball boy for the football team, and I’ve just always had such a great passion for Cyclone athletics.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Sponsor logos on NBA jerseys are looking more and more like an inevitability … It seems a lot of folks are getting upset over Drew Gooden‘s recent in-game shoulder shrug … Surprising Bucks rookie Nate Wolters was injured in last night’s game vs. Golden State … Kings big man Carl Landry had successful arthroscopic surgery on his knee … Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has high praise for backup big man Robert Sacre … Remember Mickael Pietrus? He plans to make an NBA comeback next season

ICYMI(s) of the Night: Houston was without Dwight Howard last night, so fellow big men Omer Asik and Terrence Jones did their best impression of him in terms of guarding the paint …


VIDEO: Omer Asik gets up to deny Luc Mbah a Moute


VIDEO: Terrence Jones swats away Gorgui Dieng not once, but twice

Will Royce White Sink Or Swim With 76ers?

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Philadelphia 76ers forward Royce White is, according to ESPN,  the worst player in the NBA. The media giant ranks every player in the league in its annual player rankings, a worst-to-first countdown that kicked off Tuesday with the one of the league’s most confounding players.

White’s situation has been baffling from the start. The Houston Rockets drafted him 16th overall out of Iowa State in 2012, but the 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward, an intriguing blend of power, grace and versatility, has yet to play his first NBA minute. White suffers from an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying, something that could be debilitating for an NBA player and his career. He used his new-found public platform last season to criticize the Rockets, the NBA and society in general for a fundamental lack of understanding of mental disorders, championing the cause to create acceptable working environments for people coping with mental illness.

He’s been lauded by some as a much-needed crusader (in January, a mental-health center bearing his name is scheduled to open in Houston) and criticized by others as an opportunist who used his position to draw public attention to a situation that might better be handled through cooperation.

Royce claimed that the Rockets did not live up to promises to provide him with surroundings that would help him deal with his illness. When he refused an NBA Development League assignment early in the season, the team suspended him for violating his contract. The Rockets reinstated him in January and White finally agreed to join Houston’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. By then, Royce’s weight reportedly had ballooned to around 300 pounds. He played 12 games with the Vipers, averaging 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a game, but later left. The Rockets ultimately found the situation intolerable and traded him in July to Philadelphia for virtually nothing.

White has appeared willing to engage in this fresh start with Philadelphia, judging by his Twitter messages. But where he and the Sixers go from here is still unclear. Philadelphia’s training camp opens on Sept. 28. The Sixers have seven preseason games scheduled, including one in Spain and another in England.

The Sixers could not be reached for comment on White’s status for training camp or the preseason schedule.

On Twitter, White has posted shout-outs to his Philly teammates, and on Tuesday he responded positively to the ESPN.com ranking:

Bottomed-out and rebuilding, Philly needs players, particularly young and inexpensive building blocks, and White is considered a low-risk acquisition. The team will owe him $1.7 million this season with an option to keep him or let him walk next season.

If White and the Sixers can come to some kind of a solution to cope with his illness, his talent suggests he could become one of the more intriguing comeback stories of the year. He could make a positive impact for his new team and, in doing so, he would create a larger and more welcoming platform to champion the cause of mental-health awareness.

Sixers Traded For Young Turk, Not White

ORLANDO, Fla. — Not everything is as it seems. For instance, the Sixers trading for Royce White.

Or did they?

That was the general assumption last week when the Rockets were moving heaven and earth to clear out salary space to fit Dwight Howard onto their roster.

Since new Sixers GM Sam Hinkie was GM Daryl Morey’s right-hand man when the Rockets made White the No. 16 pick in the Draft a year ago, it was immediately thought by many in Philly that Hinkie was making a low-risk bid for a young forward with potential.

His name is Furkan Aldemir, a 6-foot-9, 21-year-old out from Turkey, who came as part of the deal. Aldemir played just over 17 minutes a game last season for Galatasary in the Turkish Basketball League, averaging 5.1 points and 6.8 rebounds. He’s has a live body, a nose for rebounding and is said to have the talent to play in the NBA, which could happen in another season or two. He was a second-round pick by the Clippers in 2012 and traded to the Rockets as part of the deal that sent Lamar Odom to L.A.

Though Hinkie can’t comment on the trade until the free-agent moratorium ends on Wednesday, it would probably be incorrect to say that the deal was primarily about giving a second chance to White. His battle with anxiety disorder was a well-documented tale of discontent last season, when he never played a single minute for the Rockets. By the way, Houston is paying all of the $1.7 million due on White’s contract this season.

While the 6-foot-8 White has skills as a passer and rebounder, the Sixers are not likely to go to the extreme lengths as the Rockets to accommodate his individual needs. Customized buses for road games? An individualized schedule to allow him to travel separate from the rest of the team?

It’s not to say that a franchise that is rebuilding from the ground up wouldn’t welcome a skilled, versatile talent with excellent court vision and a high basketball I.Q. on the front line. But first things first for White. He’s got to show up in Philly and play. Or not. He’s got to show that he’s got to show that he’s serious about having an NBA career. Or not. The truth is, except for the Rockets unloading his contract off their payroll, the trade wasn’t about him.

The Non-Dwight Action Of The Night



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Dwight Howard made the biggest splash of the day, night and probably the entire free agent summer of 2013 by choosing the Houston Rockets. And you are free to weigh in on his (in)decision and where it ranks in recent memory among summer spectacles.

But he wasn’t the only free agent to firm up his future Friday.

Plenty of his contemporaries were busy solidifying their respective futures with teams around the league. Keep in mind none of these deals become official until July 10, when the league’s moratorium on signing new contracts and finalizing proposed trades is lifted.

Some of the other notable activity from the first and likely wildest Friday night of free agency:

Royce White Shows Flashes in D-League

HIDALGO, Tex. — This is what Royce White wanted, to be fighting through picks instead of fighting to be heard, chasing down rebounds rather than understanding.

Three months after he separated from the team and five weeks after he’d been suspended by the Rockets, White finally took his story from the court of public opinion to the basketball court.

The 6-foot-8 rookie forward shot 3-for-8, scored seven points and had eight rebounds, four assists and three turnovers in his NBA D-League debut as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers whipped the Maine Red Claws 139-122 on Tuesday night.

“It was good. I liked it,” White said. “I started getting a little cramping in my quad and tried to play though it. It felt good just to be out there and playing.”

Especially after a road that was far longer than the 350 miles between Houston and this border town and had turned into an odyssey of recrimination and doubt.

The Rockets had made White the No. 16 pick in the 2012 draft due to his all-around skills and versatility, but his notoriety level went through the roof when he did not report to the first week of training camp while requesting that the club and the league come up with a “protocol” to properly treat his diagnosed anxiety disorder while balancing the demands of the NBA schedule.

The Rockets had twice previously tried to assign White to the D-League. But when he would not report the second time, the club suspended him on Jan. 6. The suspension ended when the two sides reached an agreement on Jan. 26 and White was reinstated.

“It was tough not being able to play, but it was necessary,” White said. “I feel like I’ve been right on the verge of coming back the whole time. I’ve kind of been just waiting right on the edge of my seat to come back.”

That comeback began when he checked into the game with 2:47 left in the first quarter and the Vipers already ahead 31-12. Less than a minute later, White got his first assist by setting up Kyle Fogg for a 3-pointer out of the right corner. The next time down the floor, he looked off his defender on the elbow and delivered a nifty shovel pass inside to Glen Rice Jr. for a layup and a three-point play. Somehow the official scorer did not regard that as an assist.

Early in the second quarter, White demonstrated that he was so thoroughly comfortable by deciding to flip a behind-the-back pass to Fogg on a fast break that wound up in the stands and didn’t exactly tickle Vipers coach Nick Nurse.

“Not especially,” Nurse said. “Pretty cool. If he completed it, I would have been allright with it. But that one was a little wild.”

White shrugged sheepishly.

“I guess, you know, that’s how I do it sometimes,” he said.

It was about what you might have a expected from a guy playing his first game of the season and who’d admitted that prior to the last two weeks of workouts, had not been staying even close to game shape.

White says he’s at 272, just two pounds over his preferred playing weight and wants to get his arms “really ripped.”

He often appeared sluggish moving around the floor, but showed the nose for the glass, the ball-handling skills and the versatility that made the Rockets believe he was worth the game, even with history of anxiety. He also put up a couple of air balls that almost landed on the other side of the Rio Grande.

“He was pretty solid,” said Nurse. “It could have been worse, that’s for sure. It’s nice to get a game where our Viper guys busted it open early and we could be liberal with the minutes. He was a little rusty as far as general movements and stuff, but I think he showed some of his talents.”

Late in the third quarter, White had his highlight reel moment, grabbing a defensive rebound, going behind his back as he dribbled down the court, drove into the lane and then dished to Terrence Jones for a dunk.

“That’s my game,” he said.

White gave himself an “F” for a first night grade.

“I didn’t play well,” he said. “I had three turnovers. You always like to keep your ratio lower than that. I like to think of myself as a point guard and that’s just not gonna cut it. I don’t cut myself slack. When it comes to the court, I keep my standards really high and if we didn’t play so well, I couldn’t have carried the team.”

White would not put a timetable on getting to Houston to play with the Rockets this season, but doesn’t doubt his ability.

“I always feel like I can help a team,” he said. “I feel like I could make things easier for James (Harden) or Jeremy (Lin) or whoever else. Hopefully down the line, the Rockets feel the same way. I have no expectations basketball-wise. It’s been such a roller coaster.”

However White doesn’t regret that ups or the downs.

“”I think it’s all been real positive,” he said of his overall experience this season. “I feel blessed and honored to be part of what has taken place the last two months despite how tumultuous it might have seemed, it was a very progressive kind of thing and it needed to be done.

“I expected a negative reaction, for sure, just because I’m aware of the stigma that’s represented with mental health,” he said. “But as far as how hateful it got, you know death threats and things like that are way out of line, I think, for sporting types of interactions. It suggests a lot about mental health.”

“A lot of the people who actually said really hateful things have now come back and apologized and admitted they deal with mental health issues,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of dynamic to what we saw as far as reaction.”

About 30 minutes after the game, White boarded a customized RV to make the trip to Frisco, Tex., where the Vipers will play the Texas Legends tonight. His teammates would fly in the morning. Driving is one of the key components of the agreement to get him back onto the floor.

“I appreciate the Rockets and the NBA being patient with such a new topic like mental health,” White said. “Now, I’m moving forward and this isn’t the end or the beginning. It’s just another piece and we’ll just try to do the best we can with it.”

White, Rockets Reach Agreement

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.

Rockets’ Estranged Rookie Makes His Case In ‘Real Sports’ Interview

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If you’re afraid of flying, you don’t apply for a job in the cockpit for United or American Airlines. If you cannot descend a ladder in full three-alarm regalia with a properly weighted sandbag slung over your shoulder, firefighting shouldn’t be your bag. And if you accept employment at a Wall Street firm, you don’t stroll in on your first morning making demands about “green” investing and the dress code.

Well, you can try, I suppose. That’s what Royce White continues to do in the ill-advised stand he’s taking against the Houston Rockets, who suspended the rookie forward on Jan. 6 for refusing to report to their NBA Development League affiliate.

Two days later, White sat for an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” show that will air Tuesday. He explained to correspondent Bernard Goldberg why he wants the Rockets to hire a mental health professional who could, on an ongoing basis, assess his fitness to play through the anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders he suffers.

Asked what it would mean if, for instance, the doctor determined that White wasn’t mentally capable of playing in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on a given night, the 6-foot-8, 270-pound product of Iowa State said: “Then I can’t play against the Lakers.”

He continued:

“Just like if your doc … if your orthopedist says, ‘Royce’s left toe has a crack in it and he shouldn’t run or jump against the Lakers tonight,’ then I can’t run or jump against the Lakers tonight.”

White said the only difference between his disorder and an orthopedic injury is “you can’t see mine. There’s no swelling, so to speak. It’s not purple.”

Emotions over White’s difficult and delayed first season with the Rockets intensified when the player went public with demands that his contract be re-written to include binding medical protocols to treat his disorders like any physical condition. That would violate the NBA standard player’s contract.

In the HBO interview, White told Goldberg that not playing or practicing without the necessary precaution of a neutral physician’s input would be “risking my life.”

“What comes along with mental health that goes untreated? Alcohol abuse. Marijuana abuse. Suicidal behavior. Homicidal behavior. Those are things I’m not willing to risk to play basketball, to have money, to have fame.”

The Rockets declined to be interviewed for the 16-minute segment. White’s $3.3 million guaranteed rookie contract is dwindling while he’s suspended. Goldberg asks Royce in the piece to respond to a fan’s perspective of “Who do you think you are? … Who are you to tell a team what the rules are?”

That is the bottom line for many. Some see White as a pioneer for mental health assessments within pro sports. Others want him to shut up and play, or go find another job where he can be healthy and happy.

Remember, the NBA process of seeding new talent each spring – though it’s called a draft – doesn’t compel young players to participate. White is free to pursue any line of work that he chooses – his ability to stay employed hinges on satisfying his bosses.

And even in a culture where a school teacher can sue her district because she has a phobia of young children, some people don’t embrace the idea of a new hire dictating terms to the private workplace.

White tells Goldberg that the power of his argument shouldn’t be based on how many points or rebounds he already has accrued as a basketball player. “I’m a human being, that’s it,” he says.

And – to his credit, if he’s being honest – the Rockets’ estranged rookie says that that he is willing to forego his NBA career, if that’s the alternative.

“Yes,” White said, “but I’m not going to accept it without a fight.”

Rockets Suspend Royce White As Perplexing Saga Takes Another Twist

HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Watching Houston Rockets rookie Royce White‘s promising pro career crashing before it starts with one perplexing mishap after another has been nothing short of remarkably sad.

His chances of ever playing for the Rockets this season or beyond took another turn in the wrong direction Sunday with the team announcing that it has suspended the 6-foot-8 forward out of Iowa State. The suspension, which will withhold paychecks from the 16th overall draft pick, comes one week after White refused to report for assignment with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“The Houston Rockets have suspended Royce White effective immediately for refusing to provide services as requires by his Uniform Player Contract,” Rockets general manger Daryl Morey said in a statement. “We will continue to work with Royce to hopefully come to a resolution.”

Morey and White, 21, were unable to reach an agreement during talks this week.

White, whose contract is guaranteed for $3 million through his first two seasons, suffers from an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying. He has consistently railed against the team’s handling of his disorder and he recently said during an appearance on on a SiriusXM basketball program that until the Rockets deliver a proper protocol for dealing with mental health care, chances are “very high” that he will never play in the NBA.

“The reality is that it is not Houston’s fault,” White said on the program. “As much as we always want to try and blame one side or the other … they’ve been thrown into a position now where they’re forced to make things up as they go because a protocol has not been put in place for mental health up until this point.”

White also said: “It wouldn’t shock me if we couldn’t be logical and say a protocol is needed because it’ll be the hard thing to do. If that’s the case then so be it. I stand on what I say and I refuse to put myself in a hazardous situation to play a sport.”

It’s impossible to determine where this saga is headed next, but clearly it continues to go down a dark road for White, the Rockets and the NBA. Is this a call for the NBA to place a greater focus on the treatment of mental health issues and the needs of some of its players? Definitely, just as it is for the country as a whole.

But White must also realize that in any other profession, he will not, for one, command nearly the earning power, and more importantly, he still won’t be able to dictate terms of his employment. Few other places in society offer the luxuries of medical, training and other support staffs that NBA franchises afford.

It’s confusing as to what protocol will satisfy White. In the SiriusXM interview, he suggests that any NBA team would be in the same boat as the Rockets.

“There’s no mental health protocol here, for not only the Rockets but the entire league, really,” White said. “I expressed that that’s really unsafe if you think about it. So, basically, I’m fighting to have that rectified. I just don’t think it is OK or responsible or even logical to have GMs or any front office personnel have executive authority in medical situations.”

So now the paychecks stop for White, who has yet to play a game for the Rockets. His status as a first-round draft pick is quickly turning into an unfortunate footnote.

White Says Chances High He Won’t Play

 

HANG TIME, Texas — While he has never stepped once onto the court in an official game during an ongoing dispute with the Rockets, rookie Royce White now says there is a good chance his NBA career is already over. He blames the league for the lack of protocol on mental health issues, which include his generalized anxiety disorder.

“I think that the chances are very high,” White told Justin Termine and former NBA player Mateen Cleaves in an interview on Sirius/XM radio. “I say that just like I said before the draft that the chances were very high that I didn’t even get drafted. Because business in America, as we all know, is about one thing and that’s convenience and efficiency. Often times what the efficient thing to do is not the healthiest thing to do, right? It wouldn’t shock me if we couldn’t be logical and say a protocol is needed because it’ll be the hard thing to do. If that’s the case then so be it. I stand on what I say and I refuse to put myself in a hazardous situation to play a sport.”

White has said in the past that the Rockets, who selected him with the No. 16 pick in the draft, have been inconsistent with their support, untruthful in handling his situation and are not following the recommendations of the doctors he’s consulted in making a plan for him to join the team.

White said playing for another NBA team is not a solution, because there is no league-wide protocol for mental health issues.

“I don’t see that going to another team would help anything because no matter what team I go to a protocol is still going to need to be put in place,” he said. “It’s a league thing. The reality is that it is not Houston’s fault.

“I don’t really think going to another team is something that would be better. And it’s not something that I want to do. I want to play for Houston.”

White has been apart from teammates since the second week of the regular season. He underwent individual workouts at Toyota Center last week when the Rockets were on the road. The club then tried to assign him to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League, as the second part of a plan to return. But White released a statement the following day saying he would not accept the D-League assignment.

The Rockets will not comment on their internal dealings with White.