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Rockets suspend Royce White

Jan 6, 2013, 11:28 AM EDT

Royce White AP

We thought there might be some fallout from Rockets draft pick Royce White refusing his D-League assignment earlier this week, and now we have it.

Houston has suspended White immediately, and this is a situation that seems like it gets worse before it gets better.

Here’s the official statement from Rockets GM Daryl Morey, via Mark Berman of

“The Houston Rockets have suspended Royce White immediately for refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract. We will continue to work with Royce to hopefully come to a resolution.”

The resolution is to part ways with White altogether, as it’s clear by his actions that he has no interest in going through the necessary steps to play professional basketball at the NBA level.

That won’t happen anytime soon, of course. White was selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and first round picks are valuable assets that teams don’t give up on without exploring every reasonable possibility.

White has a well-publicized anxiety disorder that he has been open about from the very start of his journey into the NBA, but has seemed more interested in being combative than cooperative with the Rockets organization.

We don’t know all the details of the dealings between White and the Rockets, but we do know that basketball is a business, and it would make sense for Houston to do everything in its power to get White ready to contribute as soon as possible.

Until White gives a little on his end, however, there won’t be a resolution to the differences between the two sides anytime soon.

  1. goraidersgospurs - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Just cut your damn lost now, my raiders had to do it with a former #1 pick just a few years ago!!!

    • tsutor88 - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Fire your scouts Houston

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        Rumor is it wasn’t the scouts that wanted him, it was Kevin McHale.

  2. mazblast - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Isn’t this the kind of situation the Commissioner’s Office is supposed to get involved in, to be an impartial mediator, cool things off, and work out a plan both parties can follow?

    If this were the Heat, Lakers, or Celtics, Stern would be handling it personally. If it were the Knicks, the media would hound him into sending one of his henchmen. The Rockets, a franchise clearly on His “so what” list, not such a high priority.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming Little Caesar for this situation happening. However, it seems to me that this is the kind of thing He Himself could help resolve if He cared.

    • dondada10 - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      You’re partly right. I think if the media cared more, Stern would get involved. Outside of ProBasketballTalk, I haven’t heard a word about White since he was drafted.

      The media would cover the teams you mentioned more often, which would then draw Stern in.

    • badintent - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      You’re right but Stern has one foot out the door and is still too busy counting his $$$

  3. glink123 - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    About time. Long overdue.

    • shanelsweet - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      Why did Houston draft him if they weren’t going to accomodate his disability? All the fault here is on the team. Without doubt, Royce is going to play in the NBA for another team that’s willing to give it a try. Most likely, and East Coast team like NY or Miami. Shame on Houston for thinking they could force a disabled person to work for them without making some reasonable accomodations. Royce’s lawsuit is going to be epic and history making.

      • danielcp0303 - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        They have been accommodating his disability, it’s not about that anymore. This is a power struggle. Royce wants the doctors to have final say on everything. That means when he plays, where he plays, when he’s excused from practice, when he doesn’t have to be there while his teammates do. No NBA team would do what he wants done, and they shouldn’t do it. He’s using his illness as a crutch.

      • mogogo1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        The crux of the problem is that his “disability” seems to have grown quite a bit since he was in college. I use the quotes only because there’s a major question now of where the actual disability ends and his just being difficult to work with begins. When he was drafted getting him to games due to his fear of flying was one of the major concerns and that was worked out early on. At Iowa State he got special help with classes, getting him places on time, etc. but there’s no classwork in the NBA and getting him to practice, etc. shouldn’t have been a whole lot different than working with the typical NBA prima donna.

  4. abchome - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Just send him back to Mars. Earth is too dangerous for him.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      You can’t. Travel time on a space shuttle from Earth en route to Mars is too long. His anxiety disorder doesn’t allow him to go on such flights. Doctor’s orders….

  5. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    All I know is, No way should a coach or GM be able to over-rule a doctor in 2013, which I understand to be the main issue here. Admittedly though I haven’t been paying close attention to the situation.

    • dondada10 - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      What has a doctor ruled? That Royce White can only collect his checks but not earn them? The dude played major college basketball and traveled to games all the time.

      • shanelsweet - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        it’s a private matter between employer and employee, so we won’t hear much. Imagine if Royce is asking Houston to provide the same level of care as his college “employer”. Like having somebody make sure he gets to and from practice, games, and his doc visits. I’m guessing it’s something along those lines. Houston may be balking at providing separate schedule assistance.

      • unxpexted1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:02 AM

        To Royce’s defense to this comment (not of the situation), he has not collected any money due to this refusal to pay. So its not like he’s just milking the franchise. He’s not playing he’s not paying, so obviously even if we think its stupid its a big deal to him to miss the type of money he could be making. jus sayin

  6. jmclarkent - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    It would be interesting to see exactly what it is that White would like. Other than “bus travel” I haven’t read of any proposed accommodations that he would need.

  7. hojo20 - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    What a waste. Royce should flip burgers instead.

    • shanelsweet - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      I’d rather watch him play ball. He’s supposed to be one of the best, and still a youngster. There’s some mighty smart business folks in the world who can figure out how to accomodate Royce. It starts with a fair discussion. It’s starting to look like we won’t know the facts of their dispute until Royce files his lawsuit.

  8. shanelsweet - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    it’s a private medical matter between Houston and Royce so no way to know, but imagine if Royce is demanding Houston provide him a work schedule that get’s him to the games and his doctors visits on time while providing for reasonable time for daily rest and recreation. And Houston is offering to let him find his own way, i.e. you don’t have to fly, but without providing any other specifics. In other words, Houston is telling Royce to figure it out all on his own. The whole idea behind reasonable accomodation is to force employers to share some of the burden of dealing with people with disabilities. Some folks just can’t understand how someone who seems physically fit can be severely disabled.

    • danielcp0303 - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      You’ve got this wrong. Royce wants to not have a schedule and to be played right away in the NBA. He wants the doctors to have final say. What if they docs say he shouldn’t be played in the D League because he can’t handle it? Is the team just suppose to start him the next night? It’s absurd. And you might want to check actual law about how an employer is suppose to accommodate an employee.

    • bluestar4ever - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:02 AM

      Have you paid any attention to this issue before today?? The rockets have not told him to “figure it out all on his own”. Quite the contrary, they have worked extremely hard to provide him with a travel schedule separate from the rest of the team and even allowed him to take buses to certain games. You are making enormous assumptions with no evidence to support any of them. But you also are making a mistake by thinking that this is primarily about travel arrangements. It is not. It is about Royce White’s immaturity and unwillingness to show up for work unless he is in charge. He doesn’t want to sit on the end of the bench with no playing time, as he did in Houston’s first 5 games (when he was on the active roster) and he certainly doesn’t want to play in the D-League. He thinks that is beneath him, so he quit. He’s just a brat

  9. dirtydrew - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Why you don’t draft a head case.

  10. lakerluver - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    From the outside looking in, this kid just doesn’t seem to appreciate the opportunity he has in front of him. I know his mental health issues are greatly impacting his behavior but he doesn’t seem to be doing everything on his end to get better. Maybe it’s time he give up the millions of bucks he can make in the NBA and get a regular 9-5.

  11. sunsation3413 - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    True “disabled” people dont use their disability as a crutch to not have to do something. This kid seems to have the entitlement attitude and that everyone should be bowing down to his wants and needs. Real word is going to hit him soon…unemployment.

  12. jacobknicks - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Maybe the next time a team drafts a player with mental health issues they’ll realize he has mental health issues

  13. metalhead65 - Jan 6, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    the rockets should not just part with him untill he pays back all the money he got from them and he sits out this year. he is just unhappy he was not a lottery pick and ended up in houston instead of where he wanted to play. they knew what they were getting and set him up with the best Dr,’s in houston and he refused to accept their help. if they just cut him now another team would sign him right away and his disability would suddenly get well enough he could play.he signed a contract to play basketball with the houston rockets and if he refuses he should not be paid. I am not sure how he or the players union could argue otherwise. his job is to play basketball and if he refuses then why should the rockets pay him to do nothing?

    • danielcp0303 - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      He hasn’t been payed anything yet

      • metalhead65 - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:16 PM

        good and they should not pay him a dime as long as he refuses to do his job.

      • bluestar4ever - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:05 AM

        Actually that’s not true. That’s why they had to suspend him without pay. So they could stop paying him. Union rules and all. Take it up with the CBA if you think its ridiculous that he was drawing a paycheck while sitting at home all this time (and I do)

      • danielcp0303 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Royce White gave an interview, he hasn’t been paid anything yet. He’s also been dealing with fines for not showing up. Facts matter

  14. kacapaco - Jan 6, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    I can imagine how any lawyers are editing every words exchanged b/n the two parties for the future legal battles.

  15. dylude - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:12 AM


    Grantland had that coverage about McHale convincing the team to go with Royce but the only source I saw was Royce’s agent and later that was called into question by beat writers and local Houston media. But I could believe he would appeal to McHale but I highly doubt he was the only staunch supporter.

    Royce should remain suspended until he report to D-League and its the job of the Rockets organization to do whatever reasonably possible to get him to Rio Grande Valley comfortably with good medical care. But he doesn’t play I’m the NBA until he plays for the D League Vipers first.

  16. mogogo1 - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    What specifically does he want? They seem to have done everything and more than what was done for him in college. When he’s getting fired from pumping gas in a couple years because he missed yet another day of work and his boss doesn’t care what his excuse is he will look back on this and wish he’d tried a little harder.

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