Atlanta Hawks’ Nate McMillan Fined $25K After Saying NBA Wants New York Knicks in Playoffs

NBA Playoffs: The league has fined Atlanta Hawks’ interim coach Nate McMillan $25,000 for “detrimental public comments asserting bias by the NBA relating to the 2020-21 playoffs” after McMillan told reporters the NBA “wants” and “needs” the New York Knicks in the playoffs.

Atlanta is scheduled to face the Knicks in the first round of the postseason beginning Sunday night on TNT.

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I’ve gone as far as saying the league wants this,” McMillan said. “They need this, New York, this is a big market for the league, and New York has been out of the playoffs for a number of years. And this is a team that our league, they want to see—there’s a huge fanbase—and they want to see New York in the playoffs.

New York presented the Eastern Conference with its most extraordinary storyline as the first year of the Tom Thibodeau period built a 41-31 finish and locked up the No. 4 seed for the rebuilding club.

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The Hawks ended as the No. 5 seed after going 41-31 as well, but the Knicks held a tiebreaker over Atlanta after sweeping the Hawks over three games in the regular season.

It may end up strengthening McMillan’s point. At this time of year, every possible slight against a club is used as fuel. It’s hard to imagine the Hawks won’t treat their coach’s fine the same way.