Trae Young

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Denver Nuggets, 117-109, at home on Friday night. The Hawks notched the win in the absence of All-Star guard Trae Young.

Young was officially ruled out of the contest due to a right shoulder injury. But Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic revealed Sunday that Young skipped the game after a heated exchange earlier in the day with Hawks head coach Nate McMillan at the team’s shootaround.

McMillan approached Young and asked him to participate in that night’s game, according to The Athletic. Young “made it clear he wanted to focus solely on his treatment” while missing shootaround and would decide “later in the day whether he would play.”

The approach did not sit well with McMillan. A source told The Athletic that McMillan presented two options to Young: Play off the bench or do not show up to the arena.

Young (seen above in October 2021) chose to exit the arena while the team cited his injury as the reason for his absence.

The Athletic went on to call the incident a “microcosm of the tension that exists among Young, McMillan, and the locker room.” The team has held multiple team meetings attempting to dissolve the conflict to no apparent effect.

The Hawks are next in action Monday night when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

[The Athletic; photo from Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports]