Houston Rockets first-round pick Royce White would like to play for the team, but until Houston and the league come up with a protocol for treating mental health, White said his chances of never playing in the NBA are "very high."
By the same token, White does not blame the Rockets for the mental health care impasse that has kept him from playing.
"The reality is that it is not Houston's fault," White said on SiriusXM's "Off the Dribble" show. "As much as we always want to try and blame one side or the other ... they've been thrown into a position now where they're forced to make things up as they go because a protocol has not been put in place for mental health up until this point."
White, the 16th overall pick in the June draft who played well in Summer League but has yet to play in a regular-season NBA game, has a well-known fear of flying, part of a larger anxiety disorder. He and the team have been working with experts to devise an appropriate treatment plan, likely to include some travel by bus or car instead of on the team plane. Repeatedly White has resisted the team's directives to spend time with the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Nevertheless, the former Iowa State standout is not seeking a trade.
"I don't really think going to another team is something that would be better," White told the show. "And it's not something that I want to do. I want to play for Houston. I love the city of Houston. Since I've been here, the fans have been nothing but supportive -- that I've met in person. Twitter has been different. The fans that I've met in person have been supportive. The community here is great. I have a lot of friends that work in the organization, in the building, that aren't even related to practice or the game, so to speak. So I have no intention or desire to play for another team."
The 21-year-old forward asserts the issue he has with the Rockets would exist for any team.
"There's no mental health protocol here, for not only the Rockets but the entire league, really. I expressed that that's really unsafe if you think about it," he said. "So, basically, I'm fighting to have that rectified. I just don't think it is OK or responsible or even logical to have GMs or any front office personnel have executive authority in medical situations."