Monta Ellis was, and still is, loved by Warriors fans everywhere. That's what made his trade to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012 so hard. And it's why the deal is still a talking point in the Bay Area nearly 10 years later.
Less than two years after Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took over as owners of the Warriors, they made the controversial decision to trade Ellis, Ekpe Uhoh and Kwame Brown to the Bucks for former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson.
The deal was done in large part to turn the Warriors over to Steph Curry, who had yet to develop into the two-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA champion and generational talent that he is today.
Needless to say, Warriors fans weren't happy with the trade, and six days later, the crowd at Oracle Arena booed the new owner during Chris Mullin's jersey retirement ceremony. Mullin and fellow Warriors legend Rick Barry came to Lacob's defense and tried to quiet the unhappy crowd.
During an interview on 95.7 The Game's "Steiny and Guru" show Friday, Ellis reflected on the trade and recalled that he was watching the jersey retirement ceremony with his wife and kids while in a hotel shortly after arriving in Milwaukee following the trade.
"We sat there and watched it," Ellis told Matt Steinmetz and Daryle Johnson. "It was crazy. I was laughing. Like, he deserved it, but at the end of the day, it's something that happened unfortunately, but at the end of the day, if we go back and look at it, he didn't make a bad move and it wasn't so bad. They got over it real quick. So, it was a good, funny moment."
Since that trade, the Warriors went on to build the NBA's latest dynasty, reaching five straight NBA Finals from 2015-2019 and winning three titles, led by Curry, who is on the verge of breaking Ray Allen's all-time record for most 3-pointers in a career.
Bogut became an instrumental part of the 2014-15 Warriors team that won the franchise's first NBA title in 40 years, and the 2015-16 team that won an NBA-record 73 regular season games. He returned a few years later and was part of the 2018-19 team that lost in the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors.
Ellis also revealed that he was under the impression that the Warriors' front office had no intentions of trading him during the 2011-12 NBA season.
"At that time, to be honest with you, we had talked about it," Ellis told Steinmetz and Johnson. "We had talked about that move. And the crazy part about it, right before I went to the arena, we all got on the phone, me, agent, Joe Lacob and all the guys. And they told me they weren't going to trade me. Because I want to say, we were like one or two games out of the eighth spot at the time and so they were going to try to make a push for it. And we were playing really, really good. And so they were going to ride with it. And I was like OK, cool with it.
"And then from that phone call, leaving the hotel, like 30 minutes from that phone call to get to the gym and I got traded. They never told me, my agent, nobody. I had one of my teammates told me from ESPN. It was something we had talked about, but we had come to an agreement we weren't going to do it. And then the way they did it was messed up, but at the end of the day, it had to be done. And it worked out for the best for them."
Ellis didn't hold back when asked about David Lee's supposed displeasure with the Warriors trading away the 2005 second-round draft pick out of Lanier High School in Mississippi.
"David Lee, he played a part," Ellis said. "He made it seem like he was mad, but he wasn't mad. He knew everything that was going on, how it was going down. He was a part of it. He can make it seem like he was mad, he was upset about it, but he wasn't. He had his hands in it and he played a part in it. But that's old news."
The trade allowed the Warriors to unleash Curry and Klay Thompson, who would become arguably the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history.
During the interview with Steinmetz and Johnson, Ellis said the Bay Area is a second home to him, and Warriors fans still have a lot of love for the Mississippi Missile all these years later.