No new contract for Royce White with Sacramento Kings
The 22-year-old forward was not in the gym when the Kings practiced Thursday afternoon as his second 10-day contract expired today. The Kings did not sign him to a new contract for the rest of the season, but head coach Michael Malone wouldn’t rule out a possible return for the rookie forward.
“The door is not closed,” Malone said after practice when asked about the potential for White to rejoin the team after its upcoming three-game road trip. “The 10-day has ended, but that doesn’t mean that the relationship has ended for good.”
Whether White returns will be up to Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro. The Kings GM is attending personal matters in his home state of New York, but Malone expects D’Alessandro to revisit with White and his representation when he returns. The Kings, however, are expected to sign 23-year-old forward Willie Reed to a contract for the remainder of the season.
The Kings signed White to two consecutive 10-day contracts, starting with one on March 6. He spent the duration of his first deal playing with the Reno Bighorns, the franchise’s D-League affiliate, where he averaged 8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists over the course of four games.
The Kings then recalled White and signed him to a second 10-day deal last Tuesday. He appeared in three contests in a Kings uniform, but played sparingly during their recent four-game home-stand. White picked up two fouls and attempted just one field-goal attempt in nine total minutes of action.
Malone spoke in complimentary terms in regards to White’s stay in the capital city. The Kings head coach said that the 22-year-old forward did everything that was asked of him in both Sacramento and Reno.
“The NBA skill that he possesses right now is his ability to be a facilitator, almost like to be a point forward out there,” Malone said of White. “But when you’re out of the game as long as he was, just kind of back home, not playing, it’s gonna take a while for you to get back into a rhythm and step into an NBA game to play.”
White was originally selected by the Houston Rockets with the 16th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. However, he did not make his NBA debut until this recent stint with the Kings. Disputes over how to handle his highly-publicized battle with generalized anxiety disorder has so far derailed his aspirations of an professional career.
“I think for him and his future and his career, he has to start amending some of the things that have happened in the past,” Malone said of White. “Everybody here can only speak positively about our time with Royce and as we just mentioned, it doesn’t mean that his time here is over. For right now it is, but I appreciate his hard work.”
Isaiah Thomas travels, remains questionable with thigh injury
After appearing in 70 straight contests, the Kings starting point guard missed his first game of the season in Wednesday’s loss to the New York Knicks. Thomas was sidelined with a right quad contusion after taking a knee to the thigh from center Zaza Pachulia in Sunday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I think the severity of it was a lot more than he anticipated and he felt good doing certain things,” Malone said of Thomas’ injury. “But it’s such a deep thigh bruise and by a very big man in Pachulia that I think the severity of it was a lot worst than even he anticipated.”
Thomas did not practice Thursday, but will travel with the team on its three-game road trip beginning tomorrow in Oklahoma City. Whether he plays tomorrow is still questionable.
“We’re not going to rush him back,” Malone added. “We’re not in the middle of a playoff race where we have to have him back.”
If Thomas is unable to play, rookie Ray McCallum will make the second straight start of his career. In yesterday’s loss to the Bucks, McCallum recorded 10 points, five assists and six rebounds in 43 minutes.