Hawks’ Trae Young says he only has “love and respect” for his former head coach Nate McMillan


Altanta’s star Trae Young participated in this Friday’s training and is expected to start in tonight’s clash against Cleveland, the first match after the All-Star break. As the Hawks rank 8th in the East with a 29-30, they expect to start off this new stage for the team with their first victory under interim coach Joe Prunty.

This week was eventful for the Georgia side, as early as Tuesday the management decided to lay off coach Nate McMillan. Young, who at some point had trouble with his former trainer, now says he has “nothing but love and respect” for McMillan, as he declared to have no part in the hiring of McMillan’s replacement.

The player had announced his team he had personal reasons to solve, and would not be available for practices on both past Wednesday and Thursday, so today he finally appeared to speak about this week’s events.

Watch the entire interview this morning outside the Hawks’ training session:

Now that the heat is over, the point guard is getting ready to play under his third full-time coach in five NBA campaigns. When he was asked if he dwells over the fact that changing trainers impacts his ability to sustain strong relationships with his coaches, he simply said that “people are going to say what they’ve got to say.”

For him, this is something very common in basketball. “A lot of players have played for a lot of coaches. I don’t look at it like that. I’m not looking at the next coach who comes in here,” he assured. “I’m trying to win a championship, whatever it is, I’m just trying to win.”

The two-time All-Star rejected any speculation that linked him with having a difficult relationship with McMillan. “There’s a lot of moments that people really don’t understand that me and him have had and that’s okay,” said the team’s top scorer with 26.7 points per contest.

“It will get brought up eventually. I know I don’t tell everybody everything,” he continued. “I kind of let y’all make up rumors about certain things about how I am and how my relationship is with certain people. I just play basketball. It’s not the last time he and I are going to talk.”

Landry Fields, the Hawks general manager, said that both the coach and player’s relationship was not a factor that influenced their decision, and that any link of McMillan’s discharge with Young is unfair for the athlete.

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On the other hand, Fields has already mentioned he’s began his inquiry for McMillan’s replacement, as he admitted that former Utah coach Quin Snyder is a possibility. As for Young, he said “I don’t care to have any input, that’s not up to me,” referring to this search.

“I trust those guys up top,” he said. “Since I’ve been here I’ve always said that. Nothing has changed for me.”

Fields said “there was slippage” as the squad lost four of six games before the All-Star break, and simply considered it was time for a new leader on the Hawks’ bench.

“I don’t know. I think that’s part of it,” Young stated. “I think sometimes it’s not always going to be easy. Some conversations are not going to go great. That’s just part of it. Not every situation is easy and nice.”