Royce White

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

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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.

Byron Scott expected to start D’Angelo Russell after All-Star break, but hasn’t talked to him about it

Byron Scott D'Angelo Russell
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Communication.

When we talk about Lakers’ coach Byron Scott’s questioned player development skills with young players Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and particularly D'Angelo Russell, it is his old-school lack of communication that comes into question. It’s what is different from what Gregg Popovich or Quin Snyder or other guys developing strong young players have done. From the outside (we’re not in practices/film sessions), we see Scott was not letting Russell play through mistakes — feeling that was rewarding bad behavior — but then not doing a good job communicating what the player is doing wrong.

This comment from Scott, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, sums it up perfectly.

Scott plans to start Russell after NBA All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14). But Scott said the two have not talked about that issue.

“He’s not old enough for me to have a meeting and discuss, ‘What do you think?’” Scott said.

I would say you should have that meeting — it’s called a teachable moment. “What do you think? Well here is what I see that is different.”

Part of what is going on with Scott and Russell is the concern from some in the Lakers’ camp that Russell is a little too full of himself, that his ego is too big, and it could become a problem. So they are trying to take him down a peg. I would say that for a smart player — and Russell is that — the game is humbling and will take care of the ego issue. But you’ve got to give him run to develop him.

Play him, and then communicate with him. It’s a system that does worth with modern players.

Nikola Vucevic hits fade-away game winner for Magic against Hawks

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The Hawks almost came back and won this — Atlanta went on an 8-0 run in the final minutes to tie the game at 94-94 with Orlando. The Magic had one last chance with 2.2 seconds left.

Nikola Vucevic nailed it.

Can’t blame Al Horford‘s defense on this one, he pushed Vucevic out and contested the shot. But in a make-or-miss league Vucevic nailed the game winner, Orlando wins 96-94.

If that looks familiar, Vucevic knocked down pretty much the same shot against the Lakers earlier this season.

LeBron James on Super Bowl: “Got to go with the Carolina Panthers”

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, right, embraces Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James after the Cavaliers defeated the Charlotte Hornets in an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. The Cavaliers won 95-90. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
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We know Stephen Curry — who spent many of his formative years in Charlotte and still thinks of the city as his hometown — is all in on the Carolina Panthers today against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 30.

On this, he and LeBron James agree.

LeBron sounded like the politically cautious, image-conscious version of himself at the start of this quote from Uninterrupted on Facebook, but as he gets going, you can quickly see who he wants in this game (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“I don’t know if I quite got a prediction but I definitely want to see a great Super Bowl,” James said in the video. “But if it was a life and death situation and I had to choose one team and one player, I got to go with Killah Cam. Got to go with the Carolina Panthers, they’ve been playing the most consistent football all year round. Both offensively, defensively and special teams. Got to go with Cam and one of my boys plays for them too as well, Ted Ginn Jr., that’s been showing out all year as well.

“No disrespect to the Broncos. I love their team. They got the legend at quarterback, they got that defense that’s out of control. They got some receivers that be balling out as well. They’re really well coached as well and that’s the reason they are in the Super Bowl. But I’m rolling with the Carolina Panthers today.”

A lot of NBA players like the way Cam Newton plays — with exuberance, wearing his heart on his sleeve, dancing and celebrating. That’s how Curry and LeBron and other NBA players want to play their game, and they feel reined in by the league. They relate to Cam Newton and the ridiculous role model/celebration debate.

We’ll see how much celebrating the Denver defense lets Newton do.

Kevin Durant on Warriors, Spurs: “We’re not scared of neither one of those teams”

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder while facing the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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We’d seen this movie before. Against the San Antonio Spurs. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors offensive machine got cranked up, dropped 73 on Oklahoma City in the first half, led by 14 at the break, and it was about to turn into another rout, and another statement win for the Warriors.

Except the Thunder came back. OKC held Golden State to just 18 third quarter points and got the lead down to two points — the Thunder pushed the Warriors away from the things they like to do (Stephen Curry/Draymond Green pick-and-roll) and made life difficult for them. It was a fantastic performance for OKC, even if Golden State still prevailed with a 116-108 win.

After the game Durant would have none of any moral victory talk — even though it was — and he said the Thunder were not intimidated by the Warriors or anyone else, via Royce Young of Oklahoma City.

“That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Durant said of the comeback. “When we get down, we’re supposed to tie the game up. No moral victories in here…

“Man, we’re not scared of neither one of those teams,” Durant said, including the Spurs. “We’re going to play our game. Nobody in this locker room is scared. We gotta play ’em. If we want to get to where we want to get to, we gotta play ’em. We’re not ducking nobody.”

The NBA isn’t professional boxing; nobody gets to duck anybody.

But a Thunder team searching for respect gained a measure Saturday night. The Thunder picture themselves contenders and for much of the season listened to talking heads (myself included) say the Warriors and Spurs are in a different class. Saturday night was a step in showing that they belonged. There are still questions about how Golden State or San Antonio could exploit players such as Dion Waiters or Enes Kanter is a seven-game series, but the Thunder have two of the league’s top five players — they can beat and hang with anyone.

They have a shot at a title.

If Durant believes that, it would impact his decision this summer, but that is another discussion.