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Philadelphia 76ers Are Right to Be Patient With Royce White

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COMMENTARY | New Philadelphia 76ers forward Royce White did not play a single game of his rookie season because of an anxiety disorder that causes a fear of flying.

White and the Houston Rockets disagreed on how to handle the situation, and White never suited up for them.

Philadelphia acquired his rights this season in a deal with the Rockets. Philadelphia also acquired the rights to Turkish center Furkan Aldemir in exchange for future draft considerations.

At media day, the press asked White if he was going to travel to Europe with the team for their first couple preseason games.

"Plan on it," he said, knowing full well he would have to fly. He also confirmed that there is an agreement amongst him, the team, and the league that he would drive to away games close enough and fly when that wasn't a legitimate option.

When Philadelphia played its first preseason game against Bilbao in Spain, however, it was reported by Philadelphia Daily News writer Bob Cooney that White was not with the team.

White not flying the first opportunity he got with the 76ers can cause fans to say, "Here we go again."

Those fans should wait on writing off on White, however, because the team's ownership certainly hasn't.

According to Cooney, a source told him the team "gave [White] a pass." Allowing him to skip the two-game trip, all things considered, is a good move.

Yes, teams can bond on these types of trips and good chemistry will go a long way for this young Philadelphia 76ers team. But it was truly not worth stressing White out with flights from Philadelphia to Spain to England and back home for two meaningless preseason games.

It is important for Philadelphia to see what White can bring to the table in an actual game, but the team will have five preseason games in America, three of which are home, to do that.

In the meantime, the 76ers can use these two games in Europe to assess other players, like Hollis Thompson and Vander Blue. Both of those players were recently brought into camp and got the opportunity to each play more than 10 minutes in the game against Bilbao.

The move to allow White to stay home also seems to be done in good faith. Management is showing they understand White's situation and they are indeed willing to work with him.

New 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie was the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Houston Rockets last season. He knows White's situation better than most.

Despite the sour situation last season, Hinkie still brought White to the team. White was drafted No. 16 overall last season and could have gone even earlier if not for his fear of flying. Acquiring White's rights was a low-risk move that could still prove to have high reward.

Working with White and his disorder is the right move.

Everyone must be patient with the entire Philadelphia 76ers roster. It's a young group that will go through a lot of growing pains this year. No one seems to want to rush Nerlens Noel back from his injury. So being patient with White shouldn't be a surprise. It should be expected.

Phil Shore lives in New Jersey and is the creator and editor of Shore Thing Sports blog. He's been published in The Boston Globe,,, and New England Lacrosse Journal.

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