Rockets at an impasse with Royce White
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets are prepared to chalk up forward Royce White’s rookie 2012-13 campaign as a lost season and begin anew with White in the offseason as the two sides try to reconcile their dispute over White’s mental health concerns.
The Rockets suspended White on Sunday for refusing to provide services as required by his contract.
Although the team said it would work with White to come to a resolution, that might be hard to achieve anytime soon. White, who battles anxiety disorders, is entrenched in his position, saying he wants a medical protocol established that will give doctors executive authority regarding his mental health.
According to a person familiar with the situation, White wants the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, the Rockets and himself to sign a document detailing his wishes for the mental health protocol, and White has told the Rockets he won’t show up for work until all parties sign the document.
The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the document was supposed to remain confidential. The person added that such agreements are banned under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
According to the uniform player contract detailed in the CBA, “no amendments to the form of the Uniform Player Contract provided for by Section 1 of this Article shall be permitted,” and if a team or player agree on such an amendment, “such Contract or subsequent amendment, as the case may be, shall be disapproved by the Commissioner, and consequently, rendered null and void.”
The Rockets believe in White’s ability, and despite the untenable situation now, the Rockets want to make this work — even if they have to start fresh after the 2012-13 season. With the Rockets (20-14) finding their groove with guards James Harden and Jeremy Lin and in position to become a playoff team, they appear content to find common ground later rather than sooner.
Another person who requested anonymity because of the sensitive situation told USA TODAY Sports that White insists he wants to play.
The Rockets invested in White, selecting him with the No. 16 overall pick in June. They will … [For more on Rockets at an impasse with suspended Royce White, click here.]