Hawks protection Trae Young Speaking to reporters on Monday for the first time since then, he downplayed his argument with coach Nate McMillan. Athletic announced a heated exchange over the weekend. However, the media discussion started to get tense as a press member urged the two-time All-Star to clarify the matter.
By decision of Shams Charania and Sam Amick, Young was absent from Friday’s game against the Nuggets. Athletic It was reportedly a conscious decision by the Atlanta quarterback after a disagreement with McMillan in the afternoon shootout. McMillan reportedly disapproved of his plan to skip shots to focus on treating Young’s right shoulder, giving his star two options: Young could play on the bench or not come to the arena.
24-year-old player reportedly picks Hawks last kicked him out of the game due to right shoulder pain. When asked about Young’s absence on Sunday, McMillan told reporters that the quarterback did not play Friday due to a “miscommunication”.
Talking Monday, Young offered a keynote but did not comment on other details of the report, instead saying it was “unfortunate” that a “special circumstance” was made public.
“So we’re all grown people here and sometimes we can’t always agree. It’s unfortunate that private situations and private conversations are made public, but I guess that’s the world we live in right now,” he said. “But I just focused on basketball and focused on helping my team win. That’s what I need to refocus on.”
Zach Klein of WSB Atlanta immediately followed, pointing out that it was public information that Young did not show up for the home game on Friday, and asked why this was the case.
Young appeared briefly taken aback by the direct question before repeating his previous thoughts.
“It’s hard for people who don’t fully understand the situation to understand this,” Young said. “As I said, it’s a private matter that has been made public, which is unfortunate. It probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it had stayed private. It’s unfortunate like I said. My job and my goal is to win a championship and that’s all I’m focused on.”
Klein stepped in again and asked about Young’s perception of not supporting his teammates in the Hawks arena, which led the 24-year-old to dismiss the idea that there was any conflict within the organization.
“If you’re an outsider like yourself and don’t understand a private matter and a particular situation, you should probably stay out,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that everyone understands and knows a little bit of the details of what’s going on inside. So, we’re all good inside. If you have more questions about it, you can talk to someone else about it. That’s all I have to say about it.”
Later in the session, Klein again challenged Young to opt out, even if he wasn’t healthy enough to play. He pointed out that Young’s teammate John Collins was there despite an injury, a comparison this 24-year-old disagrees with.
“I would play if I was healthy… But you don’t know the whole story. Again,” said Young, turning to look directly at Klein. When Klein tried to intervene, Young stopped him, making it clear that he did not want to discuss the matter any further.
“A private matter must remain private,” he said again.
Young and the Hawks got off to a pretty slow start this season for a team with deep playoff hopes, but they’ve since started to turn things around. Despite his shooting numbers being low overall (41.1% FG, 30.3% 3PT FG), Young still averages 27.8 points and 9.6 assists per game.
Atlanta currently holds 13-10 and 4th place in the Eastern Conference, with more than half of the regular season still ahead.