Trae Young says he and John Collins have no qualms with each other despite an earlier report citing a back-and-forth between the team's franchise player and its starting power forward.
Sam Amick and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic noted Collins and Young lit into each other during a film session earlier this month. Speaking to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, Young denied the confrontation was anything more than two players pushing each other to get better.
“Of course if there’s anything out there publicly, I always go directly to [that person]. As for the John [Collins] incident, me and him talked about it as soon as it got out the next day and we were both confused. It just got out and it was over a regular film session. So there’s no beef or anything in there to begin with. There hasn’t been any locker room issues on my side. Anything that people were saying about locker room issues, there hasn’t been one. It’s all about our team and how we’ve been trying to get better in film sessions.”
Here's how The Athletic described the disagreement:
"John Collins, the fourth-year big man who just weeks before bet on himself in a big way during his failed extension talks with the Hawks, shared his unfiltered and unhappy views about the way franchise centerpiece Trae Young was running the offense. According to three sources who were either in the session or had knowledge of what was said, Collins raised several issues about the way these Hawks were functioning with Young at the helm.
"There was no back-and-forth between the two, but the pointed criticism caught the attention of the room. And Young, sources say, made it clear to others later that he strongly disagreed with Collins’ assessment."
The Hawks are 9-9, sitting atop the Southeast Division and starting to look like a dark-horse contender in the Eastern Conference thanks to the likes of Young, Collins and center Clint Capela.
That doesn't mean there aren't going to be more growing pains. This is a young team just starting to figure out how to succeed in the NBA. That doesn't happen without some conflict or disagreement. Young wants it known that those comments are all in the name of improvement.
The stakes have been raised in Atlanta. Now, it's on the team to live up to them.
“Making the playoffs is the main goal for us,” Young said. “For us, these past couple of years, it’s been more of a development stage. We’re all pretty young and of course we’re trying to win each and every night, but everybody’s main focus was to get better each and every day. And when you’re hearing that all the time, that’s really the main focus. So now, it’s like, ‘How can we win each and every day.’ It’s a different mindset around here now.”