Royce White still not with Rockets, attacks Wojnarowski on twitter

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One of the key lessons in life, for some people one of the hard ones to learn, is to pick your battles. When to let some things just go in pursuit of a more important, larger goal.

With that in mind, we bring you two bits of news about Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets who has an anxiety disorder and does not feel the Rockets have done enough to support him.

First, he is still not with the team and there is no timetable for his return, reports the Houston Chronicle. Rockets GM Daryl Morey said the two sides are “talking things through” but he has not been with the team for two weeks and it is not clear when White may return.

Second, White took to twitter — his preferred medium of public communication — on Saturday to attack Yahoo Sports writer (and NBC Sports Network NBA Insider) Adrian Wojnarowski for a week-old article saying what a lot of people around the league have been saying: That in his quest for what he sees as fair treatment for his disorder he is throwing his NBA career away.

 

 

White had nearly 30 tweets going after Wojnarowski, some pointing out things listed in the article saying they are not true (specifically that there were concerns about playing time that led him to leave the Rockets). Woj has, as of now, not responded on twitter.

White wants to change the perception of what people with an anxiety disorder can do with the proper support. He wants to create awareness.

But the only way he can really do that is to be an active, contributing member of an NBA team.

Wojnarowski is no doubt one of the — if not THE — biggest name basketball journalist out there but he is also not the guy standing between White and playing in the NBA. What Wojnarowski wrote in that article is the perception around the league when you talk to teams, no matter what White thinks of it. Woj didn’t create the perception, and he’s not the one that can change it.

Publicly, the Rockets have been very supportive of White. But privately they will tell you all the things they have done for White, including allowing him to take a bus to many of the team’s away games and getting his a psychologist to see in the area. White and the Rockets clearly still do not agree on what the level of support should be.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the best course of treatment and what the best way for the Rockets to help White is. That is something for him and his doctors to work out with the team in the talks reportedly going on. This is not a simple situation with easy answers. But if White wants to change the perception of him he can only do that as a member of the Rockets.

From the outside, from where I sit, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Royce White’s primary goal is to be an NBA basketball player. Maybe it is, but this comes back to perception and it doesn’t feel like that is what he wants more than anything else. And maybe that’s a good decision for him, maybe this to him is a fight for something much bigger and more important (and if so attacking Wojnarowski is a distraction from that). But know that the feeling around the league is that if he is not committed there are a hundred guys in line behind him who may not be as talented but are fully committed. And teams would rather have those guys on the roster. That is not what Wojnarowski made up, that is what is being said.

And again, the only way for White to achieve those goals is as the member of an NBA team.

I really hope this ends up working out for both White and the Rockets. I’m not sure I see the path to that happening right now, but I hope it does.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

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Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

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LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

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NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.

Isaiah Thomas makes it clear he wants to stay in Boston

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It’s been a long time since there was so much discussion about whether a team needs to trade or just let go of an All-NBA and All-Star player at his peak who is clear and away a fan favorite.

Yet that’s where the Boston Celtics and Isaiah Thomas find themselves. After landing the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft — where they will almost certainly take point guard Markelle Fultz — and with the Celtics looking a full couple steps behind the Cavaliers in the playoffs, the question about whether Thomas is part of the future in Boston has come up. He is a free agent in 2018 and are the Celtics willing to pay the big money it will take to keep him?

Know this, Thomas wants to remain a Celtic and win a Celtic. You can listen to his full comments above, but Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has the money quote:

Outside of chasing Gordon Hayward, this summer the Celtics are going to focus on getter some frontcourt help, someone to help with rebounding and rim protection. They will look to get better, but Danny Ainge isn’t going to push all his chips into the middle of the table to make a gambit on immediate massive improvement. He will remain patient, building this team so that in three years and five years they will be a force in the East.

And the Thomas discussion likely gets put on hold for a year (unless there is a change of course and contract extension talks come up, but that’s only if Boston misses on Hayward and any other big targets).