The Rockets' Royce White remains absent from the team in a dispute… (Pat Sullivan / Associated…)
Off-court problems -- now they are called "issues" -- between players and teams used to be worked out behind closed doors and often at a logical pace.
Then came social media, and more specifically, Twitter.
The scary thing is that the safety net is gone. The filter has vanished and it is entirely possible that every thought from an executive, coach or player -- positive and negative -- can go viral within minutes.
This is aptly illustrated by the Twitter account of the Houston Rockets' Royce White -- his handle is @Highway_30 -- and his current dispute with the team over the handling of his anxiety disorder. He is not with the Rockets and reports say he has refused a D-League assignment.
White took to Twitter in the last few days, said he was being fined $15,000, ripped a doctor and then apologized later in the day, calling the doctor "a good guy."
On Friday, White, a first-round draft choice in June, tweeted several times, stating that he was not planning to quit basketball but that his health took precedence:
"You should never choose ANYTHING over it.
"NBA might be a dream come true, but being UNHEALTHY isn't, people will know I stood up for myself and what's right.#NeverABadTime"
He has yet to play in the NBA. Then there was this update early Saturday morning for his 110,000-plus followers:
"Last Thing: This is not about FLYING, travel plan is solid. This is about setting PROTOCOL and a willingness 2 become educated.#AllProgress"
White has responded to ignorance about mental illness, via his Twitter account, and has interacted with those who are battling social anxiety disorders, eager to help and offer guidance.
Given the nature of the dispute between White and the Rockets, it is understandable that the public comments from the team have been limited.
The Lakers' Metta World Peace, who once played for the Rockets, also limited his observations when asked about White on Friday night.
World Peace has been honored for his mental health advocacy efforts, appearing in public service announcements and speaking candidly about his personal battles.
"I'm sure he's being helped," World Peace said. "I know the team is helping him. He'll be OK. He's a rookie. He has a lot of years left in the NBA."
His four-game tenure was marked by class, good humor and three wins.
Bernie Bickerstaff's four-game run as interim Lakers coach came to an end, finishing on a high note Friday night as the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns, 114-102. He moves over for new Coach Mike D'Antoni, who makes his Lakers game debut Sunday.
"Yes, I'm turning the gavel over," said Bickerstaff, now the greatest Lakers coach in franchise history, at least by winning percentage (3-1, 75%).
Power of parity
A sampling of early-season reviews from TNT analyst Kenny Smith.
"You look at Brooklyn, the Clippers, teams that are kind of on the verge, the Knicks, that haven't quite broken through," he said. "This is the year, in the early going, they think they can break through. So it's fun to watch that.
"It's too early for disappointments."
-- Lisa Dillman
and Eric Pincus