Dell Demps is a very busy man right now. The general manager of the New Orleans Pelicans has a lot on his plate. When he is not interviewing Alvin Gentry (last week) or Jeff Van Gundy (as he did on Tuesday) there is still a lot of work to be done building a successful franchise. One of those things is fielding a summer league team for the Las Vegas league this coming July.
So far only one player, Seth Curry, is a candidate for the Pelicans summer league team. The other six players under contract are well beyond testing themselves in that environment. Assuming the Pelicans use the 56th pick that player too will likely find their way to Sin City. Still, that leaves a number of open roster spots available for players trying to earn their way into the NBA; with the Pelicans or by impressing other teams with their performance.
We can add Royce White to the list of potential summer league Pelicans.
Bulls, Pelicans emerging as suitors for Royce White's NBA comeback in July, sources tell RealGM. Former 16th pick is deciding among several.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 28, 2015
Why is Royce White choosing between the Bulls and Pelicans? Could it possibly be that his former college coach, Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, is also interested in those two franchises? Possibly. White's most successful season as a basketball player came in 2011-12 with the Cyclones. Since then it has been an ugly back and forth with White and every NBA franchise he has been affiliated with, including the Houston Rockets who drafted him with the 16th pick in 2012. This story on White and the Rockets is a decent, but hardly comprehensive, starting point on his troubles.
It is clear that the physical tools are there to make White an NBA player. At the NBA Combine he measured 6'8" with a 7'0" wingspan at a relatively slim (for him) 261 pounds according to Draft Express. Best case scenario (for the Pelicans) is that White and the Pels find a way to properly manage his mental illness and he can become a solid contributor in the league. When he was drafted White was thought by many to be the next Boris Diaw; I am hardly alone in thinking a Diaw-esque skill set would be valuable to this team.
The likelihood that White turns this into an NBA career are meager. While he is just 24 years old there are significant obstacles; his mental health, weight management, and fitness. Leave it to Demps, who has plucked plenty of solid contributors at a similar age from Europe, to keep his ear to the ground on these types of things.