Houston Rockets rookie Royce White and the team seem to be at odds over the Rockets assigning him to the D League. Royce’s anxiety issues have been well documented and the Rockets came out in support of him but somewhere along the line things have gone awry with the team claiming Royce has gone AWOL – he wasn’t at Monday night’s home game against the Miami Heat or practice on Tuesday but claims both were excused- and Royce saying they aren’t really supporting him.
The absences are unexcused, a person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday.
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 [Donatas] Motiejunas and [Scott] 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.”
Asked how it would hurt the Rockets if a player taken with the 16th pick of the draft did not pan out, Alexander said: “I’d feel bad for Royce, and I would feel very bad for the team.”
Royce released a statement via Rockets fan site, ClutchFans.net:
In hindsight, 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 preseason 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.
Royce then took to Twitter to express more displeasure.
Miscommunication on both sides? Seems unlikely especially since the situation has been handled with kid gloves from the start. Clearly there is more to the story but in all honesty, I don’t see how this situation works long term.