Report: Trae Young missed Friday game after disagreement with coach McMillan Watch Kawhi Leonard score two clutch buckets, including game-winner, in his return James Harden returns to 76ers Monday night, is on minutes restriction Trae Young frustrated ‘private conversations get out to the public’ about missed game Nike, Kyrie Irving part ways, making him a sneaker free agent


Officially, Trae Young missed the Hawks’ Friday night game against the Nuggets due to pain in his right shoulder.

The reality is much more complex and is the latest sign of ongoing tension between Trae Young, the face of the Atlanta franchise, and head coach Nate McMillan. Shams Charania and Sam Amik from The Athletic published a report detail about what happened on Friday.

While Young was being treated for his right shoulder, sources say McMillan asked him if he would participate in shootouts, get treated during rounds and play in a game against the Nuggets. But Young has made it clear that he wants to focus solely on his treatment, skipping shootouts and deciding later in the day if he will play.

However, this approach was not approved by Macmillan. As the face of the Hawks franchise chose not to participate in the shootouts, McMillan ended up offering him two options to play that night, the sources said: play off the bench — or stay out of the arena. In response, Young said he would not play against the Nuggets and the team ruled him out, citing a sore right shoulder.

Young trained with the team over the weekend and is expected to play Monday against the Thunder.

A few thoughts on this report.

• Coaches who don’t get along with their star players usually don’t stay long in the NBA (note Young’s strained relationship with former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce). It’s much easier to find another good coach than another Trae Young. However, Charania and Amik report that Macmillan’s work is safe for now.

• Rumors and rumors of a strained relationship between Young and McMillan have been swirling around the league for a couple of years now. Things could boil over as the 13-10 Hawks didn’t make the jump despite going all in to trade for Dejont Murray last summer (give up a couple of first-round picks to get him). Despite this, the Hawks are the 17th-best offensive player in the NBA this season.

• There are also rumors in the league about chemistry problems with the Hawks. According to The Athletic, this season they have already held several team meetings to resolve conflicts.

• If Young had problems with Pierce, and now with McMillan… was it the coaches?

• The Hawks built around Young and paid him to be the team’s cornerstone, but how far can they go ahead with him? He is an elite striker but a poor defender who sometimes frustrates coaches and teammates. While Atlanta took him to the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago, was it more of a one-off situation where they were lucky with matches and timing? This team thought that after the deal with Murray they would challenge the elite of the East, but they do not look close to this level.

• Will anything change around the Hawks if they find a trade for John Collins on time?

Kawhi Leonard looked rusty in his return for the first 47 minutes on Monday night: 5 of 13 shots, 0-3 from three.

But this last minute was special.

First, there was a great fuss from Paul George – also coming back – it passed the ball to Leonard to tie him up.

Then, after the stoppage, the Clippers got what they wanted, went overboard and let Leonard handle the winning game.

Los Angeles went on to a 119–117 road win. Not exactly beautiful, but for a team that was just starting to recover and build teamwork, they showed resilience and won. Leonard finished with 16 points on 7 of 15 shooting and George looked brilliant en route to 19 on 8 of 15 shooting from the floor. It was the Clippers’ balanced offense that Tyronne Liu is trying to build.

Kelly Obre Jr. scored 28 and PJ Washington added 26 for shorthanded Hornets.

The 76ers were able to keep their heads above the water. For 14 games James Harden out of action with right leg tendon sprain – both Joel Embiid as well as Tyrese Maxi missed games this stretch too (Maxi stayed out) and Philadelphia went 8-6 with a +2.9 net rating and the best defense in the NBA this stretch.

Harden returns to Houston on Monday night.

This was not a surprise, nor was the fact that Doc Rivers did not confirm that Harden would be limited in minutes at first.

Harden was averaging 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds per game prior to the injury, and although his three-point shooting percentage was down (33.3%), he was still effective and found his footing as more of an assistant than a scorer.

The 66ers are 12-11 this season and are fifth in the East (tied with the Pacers and Raptors). If Harden can provoke a Philadelphia offense, they’ll have plenty of time to move up to the top four, have a first-round playoff game, and prepare for a deep playoff run. But it all starts with their starting quarterbacks getting healthy again.

Harden is ready to take it.

Rumors and chatter about tension in Atlanta – about how Trae Young adapted to playing with Dehonte Murray, and his opposition to coach Nate McMillan and his attempts to get the ball moving more have been all over the league since the start of the season. A bit of information leaked out over the weekend: On Friday, Young decided not to come to the arena after McMillan gave him the choice of participating in a shootout or missing the game.

Young turned to the report and seemed to be more concerned about what it was made known to than about the contents of the report.

“I mean, it was just a situation. I mean, we’re all grown men here, and sometimes we don’t always agree. And it’s very unfortunate that personal situations and personal conversations become public, but I think this is the world we live in now. Yes, I’ll just focus on basketball and helping my team win. And that’s what I have to…