According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the controversial forward passed a physical on Friday and will report to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ Developmental League affiliate, on Monday:
Rockets rookie Royce White moved a step closer to reporting Monday to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League by passing a physical Friday, athletic trainer Keith Jones said.
White is expected to be in uniform for the Vipers for their games on Tuesday and Wednesday, marking the end of a long, ugly dispute between the rookie and Houston.
Though White is largely viewed as having immense talent, the Rockets drafted him with knowledge of preexisting anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders. He has a fear of flying on airplanes and has been taking anxiety medication since he was a teenager.
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It has been those disorders—more specifically, White and the Rockets’ disagreement on how to treat them—that have halted his NBA career. White missed the opening of training camp while the two sides hammered out how he would travel. While that issue ultimately was resolved, the tension lingered.
The 21-year-old forward eventually left the team again in November due to the Rockets’ “inconsistent” treatment of his anxiety disorder. Houston’s frustration eventually bubbled up, leading to a suspension, but the two sides have finally come to what seems like an amenable middle ground.
Taken No. 16 overall in last June’s draft, White was looked at by many as yet another steal for general manager Daryl Morey. A point forward with innate court vision, slick handles and elite strength, he led Iowa State in all five major statistical categories last season en route to a second-round NCAA tournament appearance.
That’s the type of franchise-altering talent the Rockets were hoping for when they took him in the first round. Instead, they’ve gotten little more than constant headaches.
With White’s playing days finally on the horizon, Houston undoubtedly hopes for more of the former than the latter going forward.