The ongoing saga between Royce White and the Houston Rockets took an unexpected twist Thursday morning when White walked away from the Rockets’ developmental league team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, to return to Houston.
“Have been advised by our team physician it is most logical I be in Houston the remainder of the season,” White said via his Twitter account. “Thank you @rgvvipers for having me.”
According to The Houston Chronicle, Rockets management had nothing to do with the decision of White returning to Houston to receive treatment for his anxiety disorder.
A spokesman for the Rockets said White, whose anxiety disorder has prevented him from playing for the Rockets this season, is still listed on the Vipers roster. But Rockets officials would not make any further comment.
Questions loom that White, the Rockets’ team physician and management must answer. One of the questions being if White violated the agreement he reached with the Rockets to report to the D-League in February will protect him if he should be suspended by the team again.
White, who was selected by the Rockets as a first-round pick last year, was initially assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Dec. 29. He was then suspended on Jan. 6 for failing to report to the Vipers. The Rockets and White reached a mutual agreement to treat his anxiety disorder and was reinstated on Jan. 26. The Rockets allowed him to train before reporting on Feb. 11.
In an interview Monday with HuffPost radio, White claimed that NBA commissioner David Stern, the Rockets and other owners wanted to see him gone because it would be convenient and cut overhead for all parties involved.
In 12 games with the Vipers, White has averaged 9.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He shot 41.6 percent from the field and 62 percent from the foul line.
White, who has not practiced with the Rockets since Nov. 11, is guaranteed $3.36 million for the first two seasons of his contract. He is one of six Rocket players that the team has in guaranteed salary for next season, but may not possibly have to pay next season.
“Never said I’d be rejoining the @HoustonRockets… only that I’d be returning to Houston,” White later tweeted. “Again, thank you @rgvvipers for having me.”
More to come on. . . for sure.