Hawks’ Nate McMillan denies benching Trae Young amid rumored feud

The fight between coach and player isn’t uncommon in sports. Nate McMillan and Trae Young of the Hawks recently made a controversial event.

As per Young, he and Hawks head coach Nate McMillan have patched up their differences after his absence from a game last Friday.

Young, the team’s top scorer, missed the victory against the Denver Nuggets because of an injured shoulder. Only seriously wounded players often miss home games.

“I mean, it was just a situation,” Young stated from shootaround. “I mean, we’re all grown men here and there are some times we don’t always agree. And it’s unfortunate that private situations and private conversations got out to the public. But I guess that’s the world we live in now.

“But yeah, I’m just going to focus on basketball and focus on helping my team win. And that’s what I got to be focusing on.”

Even though Young was starting for the Hawks in their game against the Thunder, he refused to speak to the media before tipoff. However, McMillan informed reporters that he had addressed the team and spoken with Young during the morning shootaround.

“Trae is a very competitive kid,” McMillan stated. “He understands. We both want the same thing, which is to win games. Again, things happen. We’re not going to agree on everything. That happens in your family, too, right? It’s not always going to be a perfect situation. He’s going to be fine.

“He is a 24-year-old man that has a ton of talent. He wants to win big. I want to win big. We’re going to continue to work on ways to try to make that happen.”

A dispute between Young and McMillan about Young’s attendance at last Friday’s shootaround was originally reported by The Athletic. As p er the source, Young preferred to have his shoulder checked out rather than take part in the shootaround, but McMillan insisted that Young take part in both the shootaround and the walkthrough so that he could get his shoulder checked out while still in action.

After hearing that Young would be sitting out shootaround, McMillan gave him two options: play off the bench or not play at all. Young chose the latter, and he was declared inactive with a shoulder ailment.

Young was furious that the information was made public, considering he had led the NBA in both scoring and assists in the previous season.

“Like I said, it’s a private matter,” Trae stated. “Again, made public, which is unfortunate. And if it was to stay private, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. But like I said, it’s unfortunate and my job, and my goal is to win championships. And that’s what I focus on.”

McMillan insisted that Young wasn’t ordered to miss the game by him.

“One thing I that do want to respond (to), there was something said about me telling Trae to not show up for a game,” McMillan went on. “I will never, ever and have never, ever told a player not to show up for a game. That’s just false.”


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