Trae Young’s absence from Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets wasn’t just due to his shoulder injury. Young apparently chose not to attend the game at State Farm Arena due to a feud with coach Nate McMillan.
Young, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick, had an exchange with McMillan at their shootaround on Friday afternoon. Per the report, McMillan asked Young if he was going to participate in that shootaround, receive treatment during their walk-through and then play in the game. Young said he wanted to focus only on his treatment for his right shoulder, and then decide later in the afternoon if he was going to play that night.
McMillan, though, didn’t like that. Since he didn’t participate in shootaround, McMillan reportedly told Young that he could either play off the bench or not show up at all.
Young, who has been the face of the Hawks since the team drafted him No. 5 overall in 2018, opted to stay home.
The team said at the time that he missed the game with right shoulder soreness, and McMillan said Sunday that it was just a “miscommunication.” Young practiced on Sunday normally, and should play on Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. There isn’t expected to be any further discipline.
The issue is apparently one of several that Young and McMillan have had this season. The team has reportedly had several meetings to try and resolve other smaller conflicts already this season, too.
The Hawks beat the Nuggets 117-109 without Young on Friday for a second straight win. The team holds a 13-10 record headed into Monday’s game. Young is averaging 27.8 points and 9.6 assists per game this season, his fifth with the team. The 24-year-old is in the first year of a five-year, $215 million deal with Atlanta. McMillan is in his third season as the head coach of the Hawks.
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