Hawks coach Nate McMillan denies he told star guard Trae Young not to show up for Friday’s game, according to Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A report from The Athletic on Sunday stated that McMillan and Young had a disagreement prior to the team’s shootaround while Young was getting treatment for a shoulder injury. The report indicated that McMillan, unhappy Young didn’t participate in the shootaround, told Young he could either play off the bench that night or not show up to the arena. Young reportedly chose the latter, with the team officially ruling his absence against the Nuggets due to right shoulder soreness.
Prior to Monday’s game against Oklahoma City, McMillan disputed that account.
“The one thing that I do want to respond (to), there was something said about me, telling Trae to not show up for a game,” he said. “I will never ever, and have never ever told a player not to show up for a game. Okay, that’s just false.”
McMillan also expressed irritation that details of his disagreement with Young became public.
“There is something happening every single day that we have to address and manage and a situation happened, that is private. Okay, it’s private,” he said. “It’s no different than any other day for me, in our group and a story was leaked about that situation. You know, those are things that we don’t normally talk about or address. You know, things happen with our players on a bus, on the plane in the hotels. I mean, we’re together a lot. We’re family.”
McMillan said he and his star player and “moving forward” from the situation. Young is back in action against the Thunder.
“Trae is a very competitive kid,” McMillan said. “He understands. He understands. We both want the same thing and that is to win games. And, again, things are gonna happen. We’re not going to agree on everything. I mean, that happens in your family, too, right? There’s not the perfect situation. And he’s going to be fine. He’s a 24-year-old man that has a lot of talent. He wants to win big. I want to win big. And we’re going to continue to work on ways to try to make that happen.”
Young addressed the dispute earlier in the day and was also disappointed that the matter became public.