The tension between the Houston Rockets and first round pick Royce White has escalated to the level of suspension. White has yet to play for the Rockets this season, and was assigned to Houston’s D-League affiliate but refused to play there. As a result the Rockets have slapped White with a suspension without pay.
White, who suffers from anxiety and has been forced to publicly battled his mental illness, flew with the team to Detroit at the beginning of the season and traveled by bus to games in Memphis and Atlanta before abruptly halting his participation in team activities. White suffers from a debilitating fear of flying, among other anxiety issues, and refuses to fly on the team plane.
The Rockets need to be seriously commended for their patience with White. This doesn’t seem to be the normal case of a player holdout, as White isn’t seeking more money, he’s seeking piece of mind and mental rest.
Houston’s general manager Daryl Morey said that despite the tension, the Rockets will continue to work with White to find a resolution to their issue.
White said when he stopped participating in team activities, that his mental health took precedence over his basketball life. This was projected as a possible problem that could arise when White entered the NBA Draft, and teams were aware that if drafted, he could become a difficult case. Houston not only took a chance on him, but they’re sticking with him in trying to find a solution that lands White on the Rockets roster and on the hardwood.
The question is: how long can Houston’s patience last?