Where Is Royce White?

Daryl Morey the general manager of the Houston Rockets issued a statement earlier today on Rockets player Royce White.

“Royce is not available right now, Morey said. We are committed to his long term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward.”

White was a no show on Monday night when the Rockets narrowly lost to the Miami Heat. He has also missed practices and the Rockets have neither fined, nor mentioned if White will be excused for these absences.

It was reported after Monday’s game that the Rockets would be sending Scott Machado, Donatas Motiejunas, and Royce White down to the NBA Development League.

According to the Houston Chronicle, White did not attend Tuesday’s practice with the Rockets, and nobody seems to know why. At this point the Rockets have not commented on White’s participation in the D-League, but have made contact with Machado and Motiejunas.

As many already know, White suffers from an anxiety disorder that has forced the Rockets to communicate differently when commenting on White. They have continued to stick by him, and are working closely in an effort to further progress White’s career in the NBA.

It’s an odd situation that has fans completely perplexed. Royce has yet to play this season, and has been put on the inactive list multiple times already.

When Rockets forward Marcus Morris was asked if he had spoken to White about his own D-League experience, Morris exclaimed White had not been in practice for at least three days.

Since White hasn’t been a part of the rotation yet, the distraction may not be as severe as one may expect.

It will be important for White to straighten out his issues, and play significant minutes in the D-League. It’s an essential time for progression, and White has already missed one week of training camp, and several days of practice.

It’s unclear if anxiety has anything to do with the latest disappearing act by White, but the Rockets will continue to find chemistry with or without his services.

The owner of the Rockets, Mr. Leslie Alexander was not shy about sharing his thoughts on the Royce White situation, as he addressed the media.

“If he doesn’t work out, it’s tough to lose a draft choice.”

James Harden Is A Foundational Player

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has to be walking around with that “I told you so,” grin tonight.

The Houston Rockets opened the season on the road against the Detroit Pistons, and James Harden was ready to play. Harden had signed his monster five-year, $80 million contract extension just hours before the game.

“James Harden is a player we can build around, and continue to improve the team around his skills,” Morey said. “He’s an elite offensive player, a complete player. He can pass, shoot, attack the basket. Even though he’s a gold medalist, an Olympian and made the Finals, I still think he’s an underrated player. He’s absolutely someone who, when they see him step into the role of a star for the Houston Rockets, people are going to realize just how good he is.”

It’s a feeling many of us will never have, but it’s safe to assume $80 million on paper makes you feel really good.

So good, that Harden decided to prove all his doubters wrong in one night.

“He’s just a sixth man,” some said.

“He’s not worth $80 million!” others said.

Harden dominated the game from start to finish, showing he doesn’t need Kevin Durant, or Russell Westbrook casting a shadow in his path.

Harden finished with 37 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block.

According to ESPN State & Info, Harden is the first player in NBA history to have at least 30 points, and 12 assists, in his first game with a new team. Harden set career-highs tonight in minutes played, as well as assists, and field goals made.

It’s just one game, and Harden certainly will not average 37 points on a nightly basis, but if leadership was ever a doubt, he squashed that notion to a pulp.

Morey called Harden a “foundational” player, anyone dare to disagree?

Rockets Acquire James Harden

The Houston Rockets have traded Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and future draft picks for James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder parted ways with Harden after he declined a reported 4 year $53-54 million dollar contract extension from the Thunder, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The draft picks headed to the Thunder from the Rockets include two 2013 first-round picks (via Dallas and Toronto) as well as one 2013 second-round pick (via Charlotte).

The Rockets will also receive Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward in the trade.

Unlike past scenarios where significant players have stretched the extension story along, the Thunder wasted no time acquiring a talented scorer in Martin, and a future scorer in Lamb. Martin will likely be a rental, while Lamb may be the perfect complement player depending on his progression.

The Rockets on the other hand were desperately looking for a potential all-star caliber player that they now receive with Harden. The backcourt dynamic now bursts with intrigue, as Jeremy Lin and James Harden team up for the Rockets.

General Manager Daryl Morey has been often praised for his savvy techniques and number conscious style, but has received his fair share of criticism as well. When will he land a star? When will he leave the little fish, and go for the big one?

James Harden is by far Morey’s big splash move, and he will relentlessly continue adding to this young Rockets team. The campaign motto this season is it’s “A New Age.” The Rockets are certainly living by that motto, and finally make a move that will likely create some stability for the future.

Wojnarowski also reports that the Rockets will sign Harden to a max extension deal by Wednesday’s deadline, that will range from four or five years, at $60 million.

It’s a bold move by the organization that’s moving forward in a big way.

Omer Asik Thrives With Rockets

The Rockets have completely revamped the roster, and while the year promises to bring excitement, the challenges this young team will face will require patience. The preseason so far has shown the ups and downs each player faces, and what they will need to address as the season progresses.

As Daryl Morey continues his quest for a franchise player, the Rockets find themselves in search for stability. The presumed starting lineup will feature a backcourt of Jeremy Lin, and Kevin Martin, while Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, and Omer Asik round out the starting five.

Omer Asik signed a three year 25 million dollar contract with the Rockets which left many wondering if the team overpaid for the center. The term “poison pill” swept the basketball nation by storm after general manager Daryl Morey executed a savvy method earlier on Jeremy Lin. The “poison pill” would have the Rockets pay Asik 14.9 million in 2015, a contract that would be backlogged, making the investment difficult for the Chicago Bulls to swallow.

So far the preseason has proven to many Rockets fans that not only is Asik’s label as an above average defensive center true, but that his dedication after receiving a lucrative contract doesn’t need to be questioned.

In six preseason games played, Asik has racked up 69 rebounds, 25 of them being offensive. The Turkish center has shown his relentlessness on the boards each game, bringing a mixture of youth and height at the center position that the team has not had in years.

Asik’s ability to read plays on the defensive end is stellar. He moves his feet strategically, and most importantly realizes what he’s capable of doing. Asik has shown that he rarely takes risks that he knows he can’t handle. For a 255 pound center, Asik is able to cover the pick and roll, and stretch his defense out to the perimeter.

The forward heavy team is so thin at the five, that Asik’s value is irreplaceable. The Rockets do have Donatas Motiejunas the seven-foot rookie from Lithuania, but his lack of experience has shown this preseason. Greg Smith is another big man the Rockets are hoping to cultivate, but as they wait, Asik’s experience becomes all the more important.

Asik’s ceiling as an offensive player may not be high, but for the Rockets his defensive presence will help a backcourt of Lin, and Martin who aren’t traditionally known for defense. It will be interesting to see Asik transition into a starters role. He played behind the talented Joakim Noah in Chicago, but in Houston he is the man in the paint. Asik’s main challenges will be pacing himself, and staying out of foul trouble, something so many centers struggle with.

Asik is averaging 8 points, 1 steal, and 11.5 rebounds per game.

The pill on Asik was labeled “poison,” but for the Rockets it’s a prescription that they haven’t taken in years.

Royce White Sends New Request To Rockets

Royce White the former Iowa State star was picked 16th overall by the Houston Rockets. While most analysts raved about White’s versatility, he dropped down the charts due to an anxiety disorder he has faced since he was ten years old. Now White tells ESPN.com that he wants the Rockets permission to travel to some games by private bus.

White’s anxiety level significantly rises when flying in the sky, but in professional sports the sky is a team’s best friend. It’s part of the process, and is the most effective way to transport a group of individuals from one NBA city to another.

White claims that traveling by bus will help in his battle with anxiety. It will create consistency, and will ease the rigorous stretch of flying that White will forcibly face.

“What it’s going to look like is every game that’s drivable, I’m going to get a bus for myself,” White said. “And I’m going to make that bus feel like home so that there’s a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I’m going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. …

“People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, ‘Can I travel by bus to close enough games?’ ”

While this request is being placed, Royce White is missing valuable training camp time with the Rockets. It makes you wonder why the Rockets and White didn’t iron all this out immediately after he was drafted. This may have been an idea that White became comfortable with recently, but with limited time remaining before the season starts, the Rockets now have a new issue to deal with.

“We are committed to Royce’s long-term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward,” said Daryl Morey, Rockets general manager, through an official statement released by the team.

White has been extremely open with his anxiety disorder. Article after article has released, and “Grantland” has taken a prime focus with White’s situation by even releasing a mini documentary chronicling the day he got drafted by the Rockets.

White is clearly smart enough to recognize that this entire process may sound overblown, or even suffocating to some people, but worrying about perception is something he has dealt with in the past. His goal is to be a voice for this disorder, and use his new notoriety as a platform for change.

“I don’t really worry about that because the perception, I think, is just not valid, all around,” he said. “If somebody has a broken leg, you give them crutches. And even though mental illness is different in the way it looks than a broken leg, it’s not really different in theory. Conceptually, it’s the same thing. And I don’t think getting a bus is actually any more convenient for me. … It’s actually more inconvenient for me to take a longer trip, but for me, specifically, it works well.”

The lines of communication between the Rockets and White will have to remain open all season, and likely his entire career. The Rockets have invested time and money into Royce White, and while they will be patient with him, the progression will ultimately define the story.