Royce White to make 76ers roster?
by Jason Wolf, USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA — Five red folding chairs lined a wall inside the Philadelphia 76ers locker room, providing overflow seating for the team’s 20-man roster before a 125-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the team’s final preseason game Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Those chairs won’t be here by this time next week, and neither will five of the players in the room. The 76ers must cut their roster to 15 players by 5 p.m. Monday, two days before the regular season opener against the Miami Heat.
Ten players are locks to make the team, leaving 10 players competing for five roster spots. And the 76ers entered their preseason finale with their minds all but made up.
“Realistically, you know where you’re at,” coach Brett Brown said before the game, later adding that roster cuts will likely be made before Monday’s deadline. “There are a few positions — maybe as few as one — that you’re uncertain about. And we’ll try to learn more about that tonight.”
Of particular note, Brown seemed to indicate that Royce White may have secured a roster spot, saying the 76ers “genuinely hope” it works out with him here. White (6-8, 260) was the 16th overall selection in the 2012 draft by the Houston Rockets, but has a sometimes-debilitating anxiety disorder and prefers to travel by personal bus rather than plane because air travel has triggered panic attacks.
The 22-year-old never played a minute for Houston, instead spending much of last season either suspended or with the Rockets’ Development League affiliate. He was traded to the 76ers for future considerations in July, along with enough cash to cover his 2013-14 salary and the rights to Turkish center Furkan Aldemir.
First-year general manager Sam Hinkie, formerly the assistant GM in Houston, has described White as “wildly talented,” but hasn’t tipped his hand one way or the other in regard to whether White will remain on the team. The 76ers also own team options on White’s contract for each of the next two seasons beyond this one, seemingly making him the type of low-risk, high-reward player the analytics-minded Hinkie covets.