Hawks' Nate McMillan fined for saying NBA wants Knicks in playoffs

Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan has been fined $25,000 by the NBA "for detrimental public comments asserting bias by the NBA relating to the 2020-21 Playoffs."

McMillan had addressed the topic of being an underdog in the series media coverage during his virtual press conference Wednesday. The Hawks were off and did not have media availability on Thursday.

"I’ve gone as far as saying the league wants this, they need this," McMillan said Wednesday. "New York, you know, this is a big market. It’s 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. They want to see New York in the playoffs... I think the NBA is excited about them being back in the playoffs."

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"The league wants to see it, everybody wants to see this," McMillan continued. "We have talked about the advantages of this situation and some things that we're going to have to face: Everyone picking New York to win and a lot of folks wanting to see New York in the playoffs. It's a battle; it's a challenge."

The Hawks tip off their first-round playoff series with the Knicks in New York on Sunday night.