Trae Young, Hawks bring their own drama to MSG for Knicks showdown

Trae Young returns to the Garden on Wednesday night. This time, it seems Knicks fans aren’t the only ones to have an issue with the Hawks star.

On Sunday, The Athletic reported Young and Atlanta coach Nate McMillan exchanged words during last Friday’s shootaround, leading the point guard to skip the Hawks’ game against the Nuggets that night in Atlanta.

When meeting with the media on Monday, the two-time All-Star tried to downplay any turmoil and instead complained about the news getting out.

“I mean we’re all grown men here and sometimes we don’t always agree,” Young said. “It’s unfortunate that private situations and private conversations get out to the public but I guess that’s the world we live in now. But I’m just focused on basketball and focused on helping my team win. That’s what I gotta get to re-focusing on.”

When an Atlanta TV reporter pressed the issue, noting that his absence was public information, Young grew irritated.

Trae Young and the Hawks have won four of their last five games at MSG.
Trae Young and the Hawks have won four of their last five games at MSG.
NBAE via Getty Images

“It’s hard for people who don’t know the full situation to understand it,” Young said. “Like I said, it’s a private matter made public, which was unfortunate. If it stayed private it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. Like I said it’s unfortunate. My job and my goal is to win a championship, and that’s all I’m focused on.”

The reason for the dust-up between Young and McMillan, according to The Athletic, was that Young declined to participate in the shootaround in order to rehab his shoulder.

But his disappearing act led to more questions on Monday, given that Young is the face of the franchise. Young wasn’t intent on answering.

“When you’re an outside guy like you are and you don’t understand a private matter and private situation, you should probably stay on the outside,” Young sniped at the Atlanta TV reporter. “It’s unfortunate that everybody has to understand and know a little bit of the details that went on inside. I mean, inside here we’re all good. If you’ve got any more questions about that you can talk to somebody else about it. That’s all I’ve got to say about it.”

Now the only question is what Knicks fans will have to say to Young on Wednesday night in what have become infamous and regular chants directed at the Hawks star.

The Hawks have won four of their last five at MSG, which included a 112-99 victory on Nov. 2 and a 117-111 win last March in which Young dropped 45 points and told fans to “hold this L.”

The Hawks are now a season-plus removed from a surprise trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and sit at 13-11 on the season.