Hawks drama boils as Trae Young, Nate McMillan have ‘exchange’

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The tension between Hawks point guard Trae Young and head coach Nate McMillan is heating up.

On Friday’s shootaround, McMillan and Young reportedly had an exchange that resulted in Young not playing and not showing up to State Farm Arena for the Hawks’ 117-109 win over the Denver Nuggets. The Athletic reported Young won’t be disciplined over the incident.

McMillan asked Young if he could participate in the team’s shootaround while Young was receiving treatment for his right shoulder. McMillan wanted Young to participate in the shootaround, get treatment for his injury during the game’s warmups and then play.

The Hawks superstar, though, wanted to focus on getting treatment before deciding whether or not he would play, The Athletic reported. That, however, was not approved by McMillan. The coach then presented Young with a decision: Play off the bench or don’t show up. Young chose the latter.

Trae Young and Nate McMillian reportedly argued over the Hawks’ superstar injury.
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The team ruled him out due to right shoulder soreness while McMillan told reporters Sunday that Young didn’t play due to miscommunication.

League executives who have heard about the Hawks’ issues have wondered what this means for McMillan’s future. After leading the Hawks to an Eastern Conference finals appearance as interim head coach in 2021, McMillan signed a four-year contract to become the franchise’s full-time head coach.

The Athletic reported that sources said McMillan’s job is safe. Atlanta currently sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference is likely a factor in his job security.

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