When the Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a trade with the Houston Rockets for small forward Royce White, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the franchise pulled off the ultimate low-risk, high-reward deal that a rebuilding team needs.
The 76ers also acquired 6’10” Turkish power forward Furkan Aldemir and only gave up future draft considerations, according to USA Today. White did not play for Houston last year despite being the team’s No. 16 overall pick in the draft because of anxiety disorders that inhibit his ability to fly.
While there were questions about how much the tense relationship between White and the Rockets played into the way last year was handled, the second-year player has already expressed via Twitter his excitement to work with Philadelphia:
There is no discounting White’s abilities on the court—an offensive beast who can rebound with the best in the league and has great vision to maximize his teammates' effectiveness—but his anxiety off the court will limit how big of an impact he can make in the NBA.
As long as the 76ers make it clear from the start that they want to help him, this is at worst a one-year experiment that is over by next offseason. CSN’s John Gonzalez is reporting that Philadelphia can choose to decline the team option in his contract next year and allow White to hit free agency:
There were many that chastised new general manager Sam Hinkie for pulling off a risky deal like this, but with the ability to cut ties without repercussions after one season is a no-risk situation for the team.
CBS Sports’ Spike Eskin provided another reason the franchise made a smart move acquiring White’s entry-level contract:
The 76ers have absolutely nothing to lose anymore. Taking an educated risk by trading for a player that could develop into a star if he could get over his fear of flying is the smart decision for the rebuilding franchise.
If White gets over his fear and becomes a star, Philadelphia looks amazing. If the second-year player never plays for the 76ers, the franchise cuts ties with him next summer and it's over.
A small risk for what could be a huge reward.