In the history of professional sports, whenever a player is traded, it's treated like a grudge match of sorts when that player comes back to play the team that traded him. Although Monta Ellis's return to Oracle Arena didn't seem like a grudge match—he got an ovation from the Golden State Warriors' home crowd—there was certainly a lot riding on this game.
Ellis came back to Oakland and scored 26 points, helping the Milwaukee Bucks beat Andrew Bogut and the Warriors by a score of 103-93. He has been a part of the Bucks' playoff push, as their record now sits at 31-29 and they hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Warriors are the sixth seed in the Western Conference, but they have a much tougher competition than the Bucks for their playoff spot.
So here we are, more than a year after the Ellis-Bogut trade, and both teams are holding onto a low playoff seed. But there is more to the story than that. Since the Warriors traded Ellis away, they have been able to develop Klay Thompson and have given Stephen Curry a vote of confidence as the man they want to have the ball.
Also, without Ellis, the Warriors were able to get Jarrett Jack—a player deserving of the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Looking directly at the trade pieces of Ellis and Bogut, the Warriors got what they have lacked for decades: a legit center who brings toughness to the paint and the ability to consistently block shots.
Ellis had his time to try to carry the Warriors to the playoffs, but he failed, leading to his trade to the Bucks.
The Warriors have the best roster they've had in a long time with three dangerous guards (Curry, Thompson, Jack) and two big men down low (Bogut and David Lee). They are more serious playoff contenders a year after the trade than they ever were with Ellis on the team—and that's why the Warriors were right to make the trade.