clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Alexander on White: 'If he doesn't work out, it's tough to lose a draft choice."

New, comments

Interim head coach Kelvin Sampson was unable to update the media on how rookie forward Royce White was handling his D-League demotion. Why? Royce White was not present for the Miami game and he missed the Rockets' practice today. Kelvin Sampson and Les Alexander were unable to offer any explanation for White's absences.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

I'm beginning to worry about Royce White. His anxiety disorder was a known red flag during the 2012 NBA Draft, but if a draft-day documentary courtesy of Grantland is to be believed, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale pleaded with the front office to take a flier on the gifted forward.

Early on there were some hiccups during training camp involving White's transportation logistics and fear of flying, but by the start of the season it seemed as though White was in the same situation as his fellow Rockets rookies: He would patiently wait for his chance to make an impact. After Friday's match up with the Grizzlies it was reported that White was out indefinitely with migraines.

Then, on Saturday, Royce tweeted the following:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>For the record, I'm not injured... Not even a little bit. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Truth">#Truth</a></p>&mdash; Royce White (@Highway_30) <a href="https://twitter.com/Highway_30/status/267471361256067073" data-datetime="2012-11-11T03:38:36+00:00">November 11, 2012</a></blockquote>
<script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Prior to Friday's game, Royce had been repeatedly on the inactive list alongside Scott Machado. I have a feeling there is something going on with his situation that the Rockets front office is desperately trying to bury — usually listing someone as 'inactive' with an injury is an effective strategy. Houston Chronicle reporter Jonathan Feigen shed some light on the situation following today's practice:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Sampson confirmed White skipped practice and said doesn't think White was at game last night.Told others D-League decision then.</p>&mdash; Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Feigen/status/268437415423774720" data-datetime="2012-11-13T19:37:21+00:00">November 13, 2012</a></blockquote>
<script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Missing games for "migraines" and then tweeting about a lack of injury comes off as a little rebellious, but skipping practice without any explanation to the coaching staff seems downright juvenile. Two things could be happening here: [1] White is not happy with his role and playing time and is trying to make a statement by blowing off games and practice. [2] White's anxiety disorder has prevented him from attending games or practice. Or perhaps there is far more to it. Either way, this isn't good for the Houston Rockets.

This morning before practice Royce White tweeted again:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>It's getting real bad when being honest brings you BAD results. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Regress">#Regress</a> But..."Luke 12:3" some ppl still have fight left. <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23AnxietyTroopers">#AnxietyTroopers</a></p>&mdash; Royce White (@Highway_30) <a href="https://twitter.com/Highway_30/status/268342948670881793" data-datetime="2012-11-13T13:21:59+00:00">November 13, 2012</a></blockquote>
<script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Yikes. By the way, it gets worse.

Fox Sport's Mark Berman interviewed Rockets owner Les Alexander on the subject of Royce White. Here's what Les had to say:

"That's tenuous and it's tough to talk about something like that," Alexander said.

"I think we are going to handle it internally, but it's tough. If he doesn't work out, well it's tough to lose a draft choice."

And if that happens?

"I would feel bad for Royce and I would feel very bad for the team," Alexander said.

The Rockets have not said yet how they will penalize White for being away from the team.

"We have internal repercussions which I'm not going to talk about," Alexander said.

I think it's astounding that Les would even mention the possibility of losing a first round pick and prospect like Royce. Les' comments are very telling of just how bad things may have become between White and the Houston Rockets.

Perhaps it is White's disorder that has landed him in a place where he no longer feels he can carry on in the NBA. Head coach Kelvin Sampson refused to comment on where Royce was or why he did not make it to practice. General Manger Daryl Morey finally chimed in just minutes ago to add that Royce is "not available right now" and that the Rockets are still "committed to his long term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward". Only time will tell what is really going on with Royce White, but right now, the waters remain murky.