Royce White, the No. 16 pick from the last draft, has been away from the Rockets since just a couple weeks into the season as he clashed with the team over the best way to deal with his anxiety disorder.
Now it looks like he may start out his career in the D-League — Houston has assigned White to its D-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, as reported by CSNHouston.com.
This is supposed to be the first step in a multi-week program to get him back to the team, CSN reports.
For the past week White has been back at the Rockets training facility working out (although not with the team).
At the start of training camp White and the Rockets tried to come to an agreement over how best to accommodate him dealing with his disorder. White feels the team has not been honest and not done enough to accommodate his needs. The Rockets have been publicly supportive but will say they think they have done a lot (including him to drive to many of the team’s road games on a bus and more.
White has taken to twitter to decry his treatment (and how he has been portrayed in the press), saying this is not about the fear of flying that is part of his disorder but about his treatment by the team.
White fell to No. 16 in the draft because he was open about his disorder and some teams were concerned about if he could adapt to the NBA lifestyle of travel and inconsistent schedules. The Rockets took the risk, because GM Daryl Morey believes in his talent, but White has yet to play for them.
We will see if he ever plays for the Vipers as a start.
Revenge is a dish best served with two seconds left in a tie game.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey – certainly not thrilled with the Raptors firing him earlier this year – guided his new team to a 106-104 win in his return to Toronto tonight. Detroit erased a 19-point second-half deficit and got the ball with two seconds left, giving Casey and Reggie Bullock chances to shine.
Casey drew up a great play, an alley-oop to Glenn Robinson III. But Pascal Siakam made an even better play to knock the ball out of bounds.
The Pistons’ second play of the possession proved even more effective, as Bullock slipped toward the rim and hit the game-winner.
What a satisfying victory for Casey.
The Warriors suspended Draymond Green one game for his argument with Kevin Durant during and after Golden State’s loss to the Clippers on Monday.
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
Jackie MacMullan on ESPN:
What about an internal fine? And what I was told this morning was that the rest of the players on this team didn’t support that, that the rest of the players on the team felt this had to be to done and that they’re all prepared, on that plane ride to Houston today, to get those guys together and put this behind them for now.
Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:
Green was surprised by the heavy-handedness. A fine was expected. Green had just come back from injury, giving him a rest day for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta and a private fine would have been an acceptable rebuke of his behavior. He was fined a few thousand dollars when he went after Kerr in the locker room in Oklahoma City in 2016. He didn’t think this incident was nearly as bad, so the punishment being drastically worse was shocking.
I wonder whether Green will feel as if the Warriors are ganging up on him. Many see his suspension as Golden State’s attempt to appease Durant before free agency, and the original issue escalated because Green thought there was already too much emphasis on Durant’s free agency. This could push a stubborn Green deeper into a corner.
Or he could realize his peers wanted him suspended and see that as a wakeup call. He might put more stock in that than Kerr’s point of view.
It’s too early to determine how this will go, but the starting point is apparently a divide between Green and everyone else.
The Celtics just had a 1-4 road trip, the lone win coming in overtime against the lowly Suns. Most Boston players (except Marcus Morris and, lately, Kyrie Irving) look out of sorts offensively.
Irving, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston:
Looking at this locker room, me being in my eighth year and being a ‘veteran’ as well as Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes. Right now I think it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, a 14-year vet that could kind of help us race along the regular season and understand it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint, when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do.
Al Horford is in his 12th season. His team, the Hawks then Celtics, have made the playoffs every season of his career.
I’m not sure Irving intended this as a slight of Horford. Irving certainly didn’t forget about Horford, whom Irving mentioned the sentence prior.
But I’d definitely understand if Horford felt slighted. He’s experienced enough to provide that veteran leadership. So is Irving for that matter.
Ultimately, these comments might prove benign, just more weird words from Irving. Still, they’re potentially significant enough to keep an eye on Boston’s leadership situation.
Jimmy Butler made the Timberwolves his team. He willed himself into being their best player despite having teammates with more talent and physical skills. He took a leadership position by talking over everyone (for better or worse). He even asked for top-contract status with a renegotiation-and-extension that would have required gutting the rest of the roster.
With Butler traded to the 76ers, who takes up the mantle in Minnesota?
Karl-Anthony Towns is the logical candidate. He’s now the Timberwolves’ best player. He just signed a max contract extension that will hit super-max salaries if he makes an All-NBA team this season. He’s even already one of Minnesota’s longest-tenured players.
Kent Youngblood of the StarTribune:
Karl-Anthony Towns took issue with the idea that, with Butler gone, he had to become the team’s leader.
“First of all, I’m not one of the most important [players on the team],’’ he said. “I’m just a piece on this team. Everyone is just as important as the next. So if everyone’s doing their job and everyone is working hard, doing the little things, we make a great product.
Somewhere, Butler is cackling, assured his doubts about Towns were correct.
But leading isn’t for everyone. That doesn’t make non-leaders bad people. The world needs followers, too.
That said, things generally flow much more smoothly on teams where the best player is the main leader. It creates an orderly culture. If Towns doesn’t want that role, it’ll be something for the Timberwolves to overcome.
Maybe Towns, 22, will grow into it. There’s still plenty of time left for him to develop both as a player and person.
But Butler’s exit created a natural entrance for Towns into leadership. Towns could have seamlessly seized the reigns right here. That he isn’t shows how far he is as a leader.