Trae Young on absence from Friday’s game: ‘Sometimes we don’t always agree’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Hawks guard Trae Young is looking to move forward from what he said was a private matter being made public. At Monday’s shootaround ahead of the team’s game against the Thunder, Young addressed what occurred to lead up to his absence from the bench and the arena of Friday’s game against the Nuggets.

“I mean, it was just a situation,” Young said. “I mean, we’re all grown men here. And there’s sometimes we don’t always agree. And 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 um, yeah, I’m just gonna just focus on basketball and focus on helping my team win. And that’s what I got to be focusing on.”

On Sunday, Hawks coach Nate McMillan called Young’s absence from the bench a miscommunication. On Monday, Young said that the decision for him to not attend Friday’s game was mutual.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed a report by The Athletic on the details of that led up to Young’s absence, noting that the guard and McMillan disagreed on his participation at the team’s shootaround on Friday. Young wanted to focus on treatment on his shoulder during shootaround, while McMillan suggested he do so during the team’s walk-through. When Young declined to participate in shootaround, the coach offered him the option to either coming off the bench or miss Friday’s game entirely. Young opted to miss the game and the team ruled him out with right shoulder soreness. Young was not in the arena for the game, a rarity for an injured player for a home game. Injured starters John Collins and De’Andre Hunter, who were previously ruled out of the game, were on the bench during the victory over the Nuggets.

It is team policy that a player must participate in shootaround in order to start a game.

Young has been removed from the team’s injury report and participated in practice Sunday and shootaround Monday ahead of a home game against the Thunder.

When asked about the perception that his absence left with others, Young said that it was hard for people to understand the full situation. He did not elaborate further on what happened and said his focus was on the court.

“Like I said, it’s a private matter,” Young said. “Again, made public, which is unfortunate. And if it was to stay private, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. But like I said, it’s unfortunate in my job, and my goal is to win championships. And that’s what I focus on.”

Young said that inside the organization everything was good and continued to emphasize that a private matter had been made public. When asked how he and McMillan would navigate any miscommunications that arise in the future, Young said that the two would “figure it out.”

Young said that he has embraced his role as a leader and face of the team since the Hawks drafted him and he’s always striving to improve.

“Like, I always tell everybody, I’m always trying to get better,” he said. “I’m a sponge to learning, learning new things. I’ve had great vets -- Lou (Williams), (Rajon) Rondo. Jeremy Lin. I mean, I’ve had some great veteran guards that I mean, I’ve helped teach me things and helped me understand this game. I mean, even Vince Carter and the other guys that I’ve been around, like, even guys from other teams that I asked, and I’m just a sponge to learn new things. I don’t know it all. And I never tell anybody that I do. So, I’m just here to play basketball (and) winning championships and try to do my best.”

Backcourt partner Dejounte Murray said Monday he believe Young would ‘get it together.’

“Trae’s a great man,” Murray said. “He’ll get it together. Whatever he’s going through, Trae is not a problem. You know, like I said, people agree, disagree. I don’t know what happened with Trae or coach or anybody else. Like I said, Trae is the guy that he will get it together as far as being with his team.”