Tensions are developing between Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young and head coach Nate McMillan, according to a report from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The issues, described by Charania and Amick as “simmering,” have festered throughout the Hawks 13-10 start to the season. The latest drama between the two resulted in Young choosing not to attend the Hawks win over the Denver Nuggets Friday night.
The disagreement came during Atlanta’s Friday shootaround leading up to the Denver game.
While Young was receiving treatment on his right shoulder, sources say McMillan asked him whether he would participate in shootaround, receive treatment during walk-through and play in the game against the Nuggets. But Young made it clear that he wanted to focus solely on his treatment while missing shootaround and deciding later in the day whether he would play.
That approach, however, was not McMillan approved. Since the face of the Hawks’ franchise was deciding not to take part in shootaround, McMillan ultimately presented him with two options for that night’s game, sources said: Play off the bench — or do not show up to the arena. Young responded by saying he would not be playing against the Nuggets, and the team ruled him out while citing right shoulder soreness.
On Sunday, McMillan said Young missed the game due to a “miscommunication” and the two-time All-Star hasn’t received any disciplinary action for the situation.
According to Charania and Amick, several league executives are speculating what this rocky relationship could mean for McMillan’s future in Atlanta. The former Portland Trail Blazers head coach took over as the Hawks interim head coach during the 2020-21 season. He then signed a four-year contract during the 2021 offseason after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. As of now, Charania and Amick report McMillan’s “job is safe.”