Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young downplayed his spat with coach Nate McMillan on Monday.
Young missed the Hawks’ victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night after he and McMillan began feuding over a shoulder injury when Young did not want to be involved in the team’s shootouts. Young, according to The Athletic, wanted to skip the shootout in favor of treatment before deciding if he would play. However, Macmillan did not like this and gave him an ultimatum. He could either step off the bench or miss the game altogether.
So Young didn’t show up at the State Farm Arena.
McMillan called the incident a “miscommunication” on Sunday, and Young made similar comments on Monday. His biggest problem seems to be that the quarrel was made public.
“People who don’t know the whole situation find it hard to understand,” Young said. “Like I said, this is a private matter, made public, which was unfortunate. If it had been kept private, it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much. As I said, it’s unfortunate. My job and my goal is to win the championship. , and that’s all I’m focused on… When you’re an outsider like yourself and don’t understand personal matters and private situations, you should probably stay out of the way.
“Unfortunately, everyone has to understand and know at least a few details that happened inside. I mean, we’re doing well here. If you have more questions about this, you can talk to someone else about it. That’s all I can say about it.”
To be fair, it’s hard to keep things under wraps when a player like Young just skips a game without much explanation. This will be asked and should be asked.
Despite this, Young said the Hawks organization is doing “good” right now.
Young will return Monday for the Hawks’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Without him, the team beat the Nuggets 117–110, their second straight win. Young is averaging 27.8 points and 9.6 assists per game this season, the first year of a five-year, $215 million deal with the Hawks.
McMillan is spending his third season in Atlanta. While this isn’t the first alleged altercation or issue between McMillan and the Hawks players this season, his job is still reportedly safe. After all, the season is still early.
However, if McMillan and his players, especially Young, continue to butt heads, then the year in Atlanta could be a long one.