Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 10:45 am  |  34 responses

The Difficult Royce White Situation in Houston

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Rookie forward Royce White has missed numerous team practices of late, and the Houston Rockets have elected to send him down to their Development League affiliate squad.

The absences are unexcused, and given White’s difficult transition into the NBA due to his anxiety disorder, there are no easy answers here.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Rockets acting coach Kelvin Sampson said he did not know why White did not attend Tuesday’s practice and did not speak with him Monday, when Motiejunas and Machado were told of the plans to send them to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. But Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said there have been “internal repercussions, which I’m not going to talk about.” More foreboding, Alexander’s confidence in White’s long-term prospects seem shaken since he expressed enthusiasm for White’s potential during the summer league in Las Vegas. “That’s tenuous,” Alexander said. “It’s tough to talk about something like that. I think we’re going to handle it internally. If he doesn’t work out, well, it’s tough to lose a draft choice.”

In a statement Tuesday, White seemed to blame the Rockets for failing to live up to agreements to help him manage his battle with anxiety. [...] “In hindsight,” the statement said, “perhaps it was not a good idea to be open and honest about my anxiety disorder — due to the current situations at hand that involve the nature of actions from the Houston Rockets. As a rookie, I want to settle into a team and make progress; but since pre-season the Rockets have been inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship. At this point, the Rockets are aware of my position and the reason for my absence, any other response is inaccurate. This is important to me, it is a health issue. I must advocate for my rights, it is a player-commodity league — the failure to meet my requests for support will end with me being unhealthy and that is not a consequence that I am willing to accept to play any sport.”

White — who had more to say about this incident on his Twitter page — didn’t skip practices or games at Iowa State because of his condition, but he missed a week of training camp for the Rockets, and this latest absence will not help matters any.

The Houston Rockets, though understandably frustrated, say they will continue to support Royce White.

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  • shockexchange

    Royce White is the Shock Exchange’s favorite rookie. I thought he had the physical maturity to be successful immediately. If the Rockets support the guy and let him “do what he do,” he has the potential to be the next George McGinness.

  • LeroyShonuff

    He has an illness and disability. Under the Americans with disabilities act, the rockets should be required to give him the necessary accommodations to succeed. The Rockets knew his issues, he has been up front about his illness since day 1. If the Rockets are done with him, I hope some other team is wise enough to get him and accommodate him. He would be a great fit in Orlando or Charlotte

  • Feez_22

    Look.. I am a fan of Royce because he is a great player and is trying to get through the nba with a difficult disorder. However, I also understand the rockets’ displeasure with this situation.

    The thing with this is, if the rockets did not pick Royce he would have been a 2nd round pick and thus would have a non-guaranteed contract. I kind of think a 2nd round designation for Royce would have been the best for him as there would be no 1st round pressure and he could deal with his situation without all of this press.I read on twitter that les alexander is starting to regret this pick and on top of that is feeling he may have wasted a first round draft pick. Its tough because he could have had royce in the 2nd round if need be. I’m not sure when the rockets picked in the 2nd round but picking royce there would have been the best option.

    In conclusion, I think since the rockets made the commitment to royce KNOWING his condition with his agent telling him that other teams up to 28th drafting were out, the rockets are most to blame. Of course, Royce needs to try to deal with his situation as best as possible. However, it is the rockets that picked him in the 1st rd to a guaranteed deal and it is the rockets that were reportedly the ONLY team to be of interest to him in the 1st rd (Teams with limited benches like the lakers, heat, thunder, etc were out if you watch grantland’s piece) so it is the rockets that must figure out how to deal with this in conjunction with royce. Tough business but it is a BUSINESS and when you make controversial decisions you must be able to deal with controversial effects.


  • Jer dawg

    The Rockets picked him on potential and of course corporate big wigs don’t give a crap about the employees. Since they are rich and whatnot they can write this off on their taxes. Failed investment.

  • ScrewT

    Some of you need to understand that the Rockets have been supporting him. They got him a daily therapist to help him from day one, and he’s never gone to any of the meetings. I like Royce, but I don’t know what he expects the Rockets to do for him. They can’t make him go to practices and his therapy sessions. The Rockets can’t rearrange the schedule they have so he can drive to every game.. He says he wouldn’t put any sport above his health, that’s completely fine, I understand that. But if he thought that from before, maybe he shouldn’t have ever even joined the NBA draft.

  • Do Work

    Ever since high school it’s been one thing after another with Royce. Some of it’s been disciplinary problems, other times health problems. But it just seems like no matter what situation he is blessed with it’s just not going to work for him unfortunately. I wish him the best and that he reaches his potential to put Minneapolis on the map but it does not look likely at the moment.

  • bob

    They set up daily meeting with a therapist and agreed to let him drive as much as possible so he could be in a safer environment. This doesnt sound like they dont care

  • spit hot fiyah

    too bad, his game is nice. they knew there was a risk though, and this all falls on machale who was the one pushing for him

  • http://www.facebook.com/monte.guyton Monte Guyton

    Man Royce White man up and stop acting like a little baby. If you knew you were scared to fly you should have not entered into the NBA. Stop whining or just stop playing and go back to school and get your degree then you can find a job where you won’t have to fly anywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    i agree with you. rockets aren’t the bad guys. and yes theres only so much houston can do to help him before somethings gotta give

  • BrettjPrice


  • ALD

    There has to be more to the story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gilbert/100001749589586 Mike Gilbert

    I think the D-League would be the worst possible situation. Let him ride the bus and sit him on the end of the bench until he matures

  • Nate C

    Hey, Royce, you’re a grown-ass man, you can either play in the NBA or not play in the NBA. The Rockets don’t owe you anything. It’s a business, If both of your arms are broken, you’re not gonna be a good mechanic for my auto-shop. So if you can’t be on an airplane, you can’t be in a national sports league.

  • mhm

    Gotta feel for him. It might take a while for him to get the ropes of NBA life.

  • The Seed

    I blame the Rockets.

  • me

    but its not a bus. its a plane and he refuses to ride that plane. I understand it is an illness not just a mindset but I still think Royce feels entitled, whereas he should be thankful

  • Bongstradamus

    I understand living with a mental illness is tough, but a job is a job. And Royce is paid millions of dollars to show up for work.

    If he cant hack it, this isnt the career for him. There’ve been plenty of first round picks with even more potential that have bounced out of the league for being much less of a problem to their team.

    You gotta earn your playing time, its not just given to you in order to manage your anxiety. I cant believe he even used that as a justification to not even show up for practice.

    You dont sign your rookie deal then renogotiate the terms. Delonte West doesnt get a pass for being bi-polar, the judge didnt say “oh i see you were having issues with your meds, no worries”, but it does buy him some latitude with owners who have to deal with his personal issues as it relates to the workplace.

    At some point if an employee isnt showing up for work…he gets fired. No excuse changes that or justifies the absence. Players are commodities, for sure, but Royce aint playing, aint practicing, and is not making a difference for his team. This is a bottom line business, a for profit business, and he isnt producing and it’s costing his company a whole lot of money to keep him on the payroll.

    I want to see him be successful, but it’s getting ridiculous. Kid’s gotta show up for work and quit blaming his condition for his irresponsibility. I know it sucks to drive 10 hours by bus and not play, but you gotta earn your playing time and prove yourself before youre given a bigger role. Its not given to you so you can manage your mental health issues and hopefully show up to the next game.

    He has to make a commitment to showing up. This is really all on Royce, he can make his career or end it before it even starts.

  • Bongstradamus

    Except now hes not showing up for games because not playing is giving him anxiety.

  • Bongstradamus

    Whatever he needs to do to show up is fine with the Rockets. He just needs to show up for work. If he cant fly with the team, no big deal, he can get the hotel details from whoever books the travel arrangements and meet the team there. I dont think thats an issue.

    But when you are paid millions, you gotta at bare minimum commit to showing up for work. Whatever you need to do to get there: get there. Some practices will be logistically impossible to meet because of travel and that will be understandable, but Royce needs to commit everything to being with the team as much as humanly possible, even if it means 20 hours of driving a day. Or he can try and get over his plane anxiety and go with everyone else. Whatever he needs to do to get there is all on him, his job is to show up. That’s all the Rockets want. Show up for work. That includes practice the night after you dont play.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I want to see White get some burn… I’m pulling for him. Side note: Where dafuq is Terrence Jones???

  • mhm

    Words of a D-League coach

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange has never coached in the D-League, but he has been known to give cats “that fiddy”

  • mhm


  • Shake an Blake

    caps lock is on.

  • ScrewT

    Royce White should just retire.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard

    my only advice to this guy is to retire

  • http://www.facebook.com/shooting.guard.319 Shooting Guard


  • JackPackage

    I feel for anyone with an illness but you gotta wonder what reality Royce White is living in. There are people with worse situations, making a lot less money and dealing with far less lenient companies. This isn’t some bitter rant about athlete’s wages, they deserve the money far more than owners but if he isn’t showing up to practice or therapy, what are the Rockets supposed to do? It’s hard for people to sympathise when you’re using your illness as an excuse for anything and everything, especially when you’re pulling in a good wage, where regular people possibly wouldn’t have even gotten a job. Be real Royce. The Rockets are one of the few teams who give their draft picks burn, Parsons is playing 40 a night, Patterson 30 and Morris 20. Not many other teams would be giving young players that much PT. Terrence Jones is a better prospect than you, had a better pre-season and is actually turning up to practice, he isn’t playing either, yet if he keeps working, he will be.

  • brad09′

    At the end of the day the job is about performing, it seems that Houston has made reasonable moves to take care of white. At the end of the day it looks like Houston took a chance and it didnt pay off. If you know anything about serious anxiety it seems like the NBA would be the worst possible job to enter

  • Feez_22


  • http://www.facebook.com/BadBluue Czakó Balázs

    LBJ goin’ crazy vs the Clipps @ Staples Center

  • thenatural

    we talking ’bout practice.

  • Mr. BottomLine

    Rockets have done everything in their lane to support Royce. I would have to think that Royce knew a bit if not 100% what travel in the NBA and related rigors involved would be from the outset. He should have never opted for the draft if he had any doubts that he would and could not adjust and/or compromise to this situation. Also, how is this related to his numerous unexcused absences from practice to add to this unfortunate issue?