White started the first preseason game but, despite his experience as a five-year college player, struggled to find a groove. He admittedly struggled with rules limiting the use of hands by perimeter defenders and averaged just 3.8 points on .324 shooting in eight appearances. The Pacers acquired White, the No. 31 pick, from Portland in exchange for No. 45 pick Alexander Johnson (who was subsequently traded to Memphis) and two future second-round picks.
"The positive aspect of this is that we feel like Marshall and Powell are two guys that can help us more immediately maybe than James can," Carlisle said. "Larry (Bird) and I sat and talked with James about it. He was very professional about it. He's a kid that's very determined. He's in a good position because he has some guaranteed money and we feel he's probably going to get picked up right away so he'll be off to the next situation.
"There are times when franchises make decisions on cuts based on how much you've invested in a kid. We traded a couple of draft choices, traded up to get James in the draft. In some cases, there would be teams that would keep him just for that reason. The thing that's encouraging from my perspective is this was purely a decision based on winning basketball games. We're fortunate to have ownership that's willing to say, 'Hey, let's do the right thing, basketball-wise.' It's not that James isn't a good player. We just felt that Rawle and Josh could help us more right now."