The New York Knicks have two days off before hosting the Atlanta Hawks for the second time this season on Wednesday night. New York is coming off a much-needed win over Cleveland, while Atlanta is dealing with some Trae Young drama.
Young wasn’t at State Farm Arena for the Hawks’ win over the Nuggets last Friday after he was listed on the injury report with right shoulder soreness. However, over the weekend, Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required) reported that Young wasn’t on the sideline because of an exchange at shootaround earlier in the day with head coach Nate McMillan.
Reportedly, McMillan asked Young if he was going to participate in shootaround and play later that evening against Denver, but the guard wanted to focus on treatment for his shoulder. That led to McMillan giving Young two options that were either playing off the bench or not showing up to the arena at all. Trae went with the second option, although he supposedly wanted to play.
Knicks could benefit from Hawks drama surrounding All-Star guard Trae Young
Trae Young spoke to the media on Monday about the incident, and part of his response included: “If it stayed private it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal.”
Although Young downplayed the interaction between him and McMillan, that hasn’t been enough to halt the trade speculation. As Knicks fans know, New York has a treasure chest of first-round picks that Leon Rose has been accumulating for a star and because of that, Young has been “linked” to the Knicks.
Young has downplayed the dispute since the above tweet was sent out, but even if he truly wasn’t happy with the Hawks, it would be hard to see Atlanta sending him to New York. Then again, the Knicks have what it would take to get a deal done.
Since the 2021 playoffs, Young has taken over the spotlight as the villain in New York. He hasn’t quite reached the level of hatred that fans had for Reggie Miller in the 90s, but Young isn’t exactly the most well-liked person in NYC, either.
The NBA is unpredictable, so perhaps Young’s interaction with McMillan could be one of the first dominoes to fall in what will could up resulting in him leaving Atlanta, but it’s too early to tell. Young was right when he said that the dispute being made public has made it more of a big deal than it was, but then again, a disagreement with your head coach that results in you (the team’s star player) not attending a home game isn’t a good look.
Atlanta is currently No. 4 in the East thanks to the Young-Murray All-Star duo and it’d really be a shame (catch the sarcasm) if the Hawks ended up falling apart this season, wouldn’t it?
The Hawks will host the Thunder tonight before traveling to New York for Wednesday’s game. Young isn’t listed on the injury report, so barring any changes, he’ll be ready to go at MSG. Hopefully this time around, the Knicks won’t blow a 23-point lead.