Reports: Sixers release Royce White
Parting ways with White requires Philadelphia to swallow the $1.7 million owed to him during the second year of his rookie contract.
"[Shout out] to the Sixers," White wrote on Twitter Thursday. "Good luck to my boys, great guys. Be well."
Although White, who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic attacks and a fear of flying, did not travel with the Sixers on a preseason trip to Europe, he did suit up for five exhibition games, averaging 5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 turnovers while shooting 39.1 percent from the field.
Philadelphia also reportedly cut Khalif Wyatt, Mac Koshwal and Vander Blue on Thursday. All teams are required to cut down to the 15-man roster limit by Monday.
White told USA Today Sports this week that he wasn't particularly concerned about his standing on the Sixers' roster.
"Not as much as you would think, probably," White said. "I have real-life anxieties, like three children, so I think about them most of the day. And then I think about business, so it's appropriately important. And especially with things like that — I've been coached by doctors, counselors, to keep things that are out of your control out of your mind. Actively force yourself to try and not harp on things that aren't in your control. The only thing that I can control is coming out and playing, and whether I make the roster is obviously out of my control, once the game is over."
The No. 16 pick in the 2012 draft, now faces an uncertain NBA future. He spent his entire rookie season on the sidelines in Houston, engaged in a months-long dispute with Rockets management over the treatment of his mental health. White sought a formalized protocol to handle his mental health treatment as well as the appointment of an independent doctor — “a medical point person” — who would make the determination on whether or not he would be cleared to play. Although White still has not made his NBA debut, he did play for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston's D-League affiliate, averaging 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 16 appearances.
Back in July, Houston traded White to Philadelphia, where he was re-united with Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, who was hired away from the Rockets months earlier. That move seemed to represent a fresh start for White, who earned All-Big 12 First Team honors at Iowa State. Instead, White will face the prospect of convincing a third NBA team to take a flier on him with just days to go before the start of the 2013-14 season. That could prove to be a difficult task.
White twice refused assignments to the Vipers last season. In Nov. 2012, he stopped attending Rockets games and practices and he remained away from the organization until he made his debut for the Vipers in February. The Rockets imposed a suspension in January, due to his failure to report to the Vipers, but reinstated White in late-January, when the two sides issued a joint statement announcing an agreement. White later announced he was leaving the Vipers in March but quickly reversed course. Along the way, he pulled no punches, appearing in an HBO feature to lay out his case.
“If I was an NBA player now without the protocols and safety measures,” he said, “I would be risking my health, risking my life. What comes along with mental health if left untreated? Alcohol abuse, marijuana abuse, suicidal behavior, homicidal behavior, those are things I’m not willing to risk to play basketball, to have money, to have fame. That’s it.”
In a March interview, White told The Huffington Post in a video interview that he believed executives in the NBA league office and the Rockets “want me gone” because of his advocacy for his mental health rights. “If I was to make an educated guess, I would guess that Adam Silver and David Stern and the Rockets organization, some other owners in the league, GMs, want me gone,” White said in the interview. “And why do they want me gone? Because business is about convenience, it’s not about doing what’s necessary, right? It’s about cutting overhead… Being efficient. And a lot of times, what’s best for us as human beings doesn’t meet that criteria for business people.”