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Royce White says he is close to agreement, return to Rockets

Jan 23, 2013, 4:35 PM EDT

Royce White AP

After a lot of negotiations — and the posturing that comes with negotiations — it appears Royce White and the Houston Rockets may be close to a mental health protocol that would have him back with the team and it’s D-League affiliate soon.

White confirmed that in a conversation on a Houston radio program, reports Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle.

In a call in to a morning show on 97.9 The Box, White said he plans to report to the D-League on Feb. 11, pending “paper work” on a plan with the team.

According to a person with knowledge of the plan, the Rockets are close to making an announcement in which White would return to the team under a written agreement that includes key elements of the protocols that White wanted to have as an addendum to his contract.

White sufferers from a generalized anxiety disorder, a mental illness that causes someone to worry irrationally about everyday things. Part of that for him is a fear of flying. What is generally done to help manage the disorder is to put in place a schedule and routine that are familiar.

No flights and a routine schedule are hard things for an NBA franchise to accommodate.

What White ultimately wanted was for independent doctors to be able to overrule the team on issues concerning his health, while the team was reluctant to give up that control. And, so we had a negotiation. One where White’s own rants on twitter and letters did not normally help his public perception.

But White has never sounded bitter when speaking about it.

“Everybody wants to make it seem like wild, wild west standoff between me and the Rockets. That’s not the case here. There has been an issue that’s been identified. Mental health is not descriptive enough in CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and UPC (uniform player contract.) It being so vague makes us make it up as we go. There’s no protocol. We need to rectify that to make sure the environment is safe. If we’re making it up as we go, … that’s probably not the safest thing.”

White would start in the D-League and could eventually come back up to the Rockets. Houston drafted him in the first round last year out of Iowa State.

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