Royce White speaks out on situation, says trade is not answer

19 Comments

For a lot of fans who know mostly of the Royce White situation via twitter, here is first thing they noticed during White’s interview with the Off The Dribble show on Sirius XM:

He’s not some irrational, crazy lunatic.

He always was rational and measured if you heard him speak, but his portrayal has moved another direction. In part because of his own rants on twitter, which can come off as unhinged, as well as his own public statements slamming the Rockets.

But his Thursday radio interview he made it clear it’s not personal, he sees this as the kind of workplace safety issue we’ve all seen around the office.

The other thing that becomes clear is this is all about power and who has it.

“This is about who — in general — has executive authority in medical situations…” White said during the interview with Justin Termine and former NBA player Mateen Cleaves. “Right now a GM does not have to listen to the medical advice of even his own doctors.”

What White talked about continually is having a protocol in place. He wants the doctors to put in place a protocol that clearly gives him a lot more power and leeway in how he is dealt with by the organization, something White says the doctors want. The organization, as one might imagine, is not looking to give up power and create new precedents in what is a very bottom line business.

White remained vague on the details about what he wants, save to say it was about how he is handled by the organization. He said the travel situation was not at the heart of the issue now. He also said that he did not report to the D-League because that was a change from the plans he and the team had been working on (something the team has denied).

“There’s right and there’s wrong, and there’s safe and not safe, and right now things are not safe,” White said.

But White did not come off as bitter — despite not having received a paycheck yet due to the fines he has incurred.

“I think everybody should understand this situation is about being medically logical,” White said. “This is not about the Rockets trying to screw me over or the me trying to screw the Rockets over.”

He talked about this being sort of a trail blazing situation.

“I feel that this is a new situation and everybody involved has real growing pains. And that’s what they are experience here,” White said, adding that usually mental issues in the NBA were dealt with on the back end after they were a problem and not proactively.

Which I would say is sort of true, but the reality is that teams will put up with a lot of crap from someone (say, Dennis Rodman) if he can produce on the court. Once that production slides there is less tolerance. And White has yet to produce anything.

Plenty of Rockets fans are calling for him to be traded, something not likely because Houston couldn’t get anything for him even if they wanted to move him, and there are no signs they do.

“I don’t see how going to another team will help anything, the protocol still needs to be in place. It’s not Houston’s fault…” White said. “I want to be in Houston. I love the city and the fans I’ve met in person have been supportive.”

White admitted there is a chance he would never play in the NBA. He said it worked in college because there were fewer games and far less travel — he had 15 flights in college, there were 96 scheduled flights for the Rockets this season.

Listening to White didn’t make this sound any closer to getting dealt with. He feels that this stand is something he has to take, the Rockets are not looking like they are going to make more concessions. White may not play for this season at least, maybe longer.

Which in the end feels irrational for everyone involved.

When will Zach LaVine return to court for Bulls? Think Thanksgiving.

Getty Images
1 Comment

When the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler — finally making a decision on the franchise’s direction — one of the centerpieces they got back from Minnesota was Zach LaVine. The wildly athletic two-guard had evolved into more than just a dunker, averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting 38 percent from three — he had become a legitimate scoring threat against any defense.

Then he blew out his ACL.

How that injury impacts his game remains to be seen… so when will the Bulls see him on the court? Coach Fred Hoiberg addressed that as Chicago started training camp, as reported by Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.

That’s just taking contact in practice. The Bulls will be cautious bringing back a guy they see as part of their future, so expect this to be closer to Thanksgiving or the end of the month before he plays. Which is the smart move to make.

Even then, ACL injuries take a long time to overcome, even for young players putting in the recovery work. It may be next season before we know if LaVine will continue on the trajectory he was on in Minnesota.

Magic Johnson shrugs off concern about Lonzo Ball realty series

Getty Images
3 Comments

Lonzo Ball has yet to play in one NBA game, yet he has his own signature shoe line, and he — along with his father LaVar Ball and the rest of his family — have their own reality show on FaceBook. Lonzo told me he doesn’t foresee this show, nor his bombastic father, being a problem with his teammates or on the court.

Magic Johnson agrees with that. At least for now.

The head of Lakers’ basketball operations said as training camp opened that he’s not worried about the show Ball in the Family being a distraction. If it is, he’ll step in, he told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Only time I am going to concern myself with what [Lonzo] does off the court is if it is affecting his play on the court,” Johnson said at the Lakers’ media day when asked about Ball’s reality Facebook series, “Ball in the Family.”

“Right now, I think it is awesome,” Johnson said. “His family is great. They came out Saturday, we had a big Laker picnic. … His dad is wonderful with me, and I am cool with him. … I think [Lonzo] is tired of all this [hype]. He is just like me; I just want to play and I think he wants to play, and then Saturday night [for the Lakers’ preseason opener], sold out, in Anaheim, wow!”

It’s Magic’s job to put a positive spin on things.

That said, he’s right. The Lakers (and every NBA team) have dealt with overinvolved parents before and know how to create some space for the player to focus on the game. Locker rooms have a way of sorting themselves out in these kinds of situations. Plus, the Lakers have been down the reality show road before (when Lamar Odom married Khloe Kardashian), and while that had an ugly ending, it wasn’t for lack of Lakers’ players and others in the organization trying to step in and help. (Odom just wasn’t yet in a place to accept help.)

Soon LaVar will be focused on his other sons and Lonzo, who appears practiced at tuning his father out and focusing on what is in front of him, will have the grind of the NBA schedule to worry about.

Former NBA player Chuck Person named in college basketball bribery scandal

Associated Press
2 Comments

The recruitment of major college athletes — and then the steering of the handful that get to go pro to shoe companies and agents — is a sleazy business. It makes HBO’s “The Duece” look like Disneyland. It’s something sports fans know but largely turn a blind eye to until it forces its way into the headlines.

It turned up in the headlines Tuesday when four college assistant coaches from major universities were charged by federal prosecutors in a bribery scandal along with a representative of Adidas and others to steer players to specific agents or a financial handler.

Former NBA Rookie of the Year Chuck Person, now an assistant coach at Auburn, was among those named in the scandal.

Person is making headlines because he’s the biggest name in the scandal. He is charged with accepting approximately $91,500 from a business manager, who has flipped and is working with prosecutors. This “business manager, offered bribes to Person to steer players toward his services, as well as another person charged in the scandal.

Person told prosecutors he gave $18,500 of the money he took to two players’ families, according to the filings.

Person was the No. 4 pick in the 1986 NBA draft and went on to win Rookie of the Year, followed by a 13-year NBA career. He made $22.9 million over the course of his career.

PBT Podcast: Cavaliers, Bucks, Central Division Preview with Dan Feldman

Associated Press
Leave a comment

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East — I’m not picking against his team to win the Eastern Conference until someone beats them. This year’s Cavaliers may be deeper than previous years.

However, much of the Central Division is intriguing this season. Milwaukee is a team that, on paper, should take a step forward, but never seem to do that two years in a row. Still, they have Giannis Antetokounmpo and that makes them must watch. Detroit has one of the best centers in the game in Andre Drummond, and they have Marcus Smart on the roster now, but can Reggie Jackson bounce back? Then there are the Bulls and Pacers, both of whom are rebuilding.

Kurt Helin and Detroit-based Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the Central Division in this latest PBT Podcast.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (just click the button under the podcast), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.