Stephen Curry is the crown jewel of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, but this wasn’t always the case.
Remember when former fan-favorite Monta Ellis once held the keys to the franchise? His reluctance to mesh with fellow li’l guard Curry forced the Dubs to send Ellis packing for Andrew Bogut.
GSoM is now releasing a video looking back over the bizarre Ellis/Curry relationship on our YouTube channel. It’s crazy how Curry has convinced All-Stars to leave playoff teams to join him, but Ellis wanted no parts of playing alongside the “Golden Child”.
In hindsight, it was a brilliant move to trade Ellis and unleash Curry’s “Unanimous” greatness. However, at the time when Ellis was traded, a vocal majority of Dub Nation was displeased with this development, even booing owner Joe Lacob over it.
The fanbase’s attachment to Ellis was a major reason he wasn’t traded under the previous ownership group led by Chris Cohan, per “The Woj Pod”.
The following quote is from former Warriors front office exec Travis Shlenk, transcribed for your reading pleasure by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Drew Shiller:
“One moment (that) really changed the course of everything — there was a trade that we wanted to do. And we were sitting down with the owner at that time, Chris Cohan. And we said we think we should do this trade — we’re getting back two guys, it frees up our cap, it’s gonna allow the growth of Steph. And Chris said, ‘We can’t do that trade. Player X is the most popular player we have, and season-ticket renewals (are) around the corner.’
“And I was just like, you gotta be kidding me. We are gonna make this decision based on who our fans think should be on our team, not the guys that you’ve hired to put together the team?”
At this point, Woj interjects and says, ‘This was the Bucks, right?”
“No, this wasn’t the Bucks,” Schlenk answered. “I don’t want to name the players. So, we didn’t do the trade. And then later on we were able to do a trade with that player that brought us Andrew Bogut. And that was obviously a big piece of the championship puzzle.”
Well, we know the Warriors traded Ellis for Bogut. From there we can safely assume that “Player X”, a.k.a. the most popular Warrior at the time, had to be Ellis. Thankfully the new ownership group wasn’t swayed by the broken hearts of a downtrodden fanbase. Lacob’s crew knew how to fit complimentary pieces around Curry, leading to the birth of a dynasty.
But, in hindsight, I can totally see why folks were skeptical of the move at the time. Curry had some injury issues, and Monta was on Dwyane Wade’s level...allegedly.
At the same time, we can’t forget that Ellis flatly informed the world he had no desire to play alongside Curry before the Davidson product had even played a game!
To Curry’s credit, he always kept it cool, per a 2009 Dime Magazine interview that touched on the beef:
Dime: Did it bother you when Monta Ellis said that you and him couldn’t coexist on the court?
SC: Not really, I think it was just…uh…you know. I don’t really know what was going on in his mind when he said it, but at least give me a fair chance to come in and prove myself. And we did that in training camp and now we’re fine, so it was just a veteran marking his territory kind of thing. So it’s cool.
All in all, I’m glad how things worked out. #splash