“It’s just that we have a lot of veteran guys on this team that understand the game of basketball,” said Ellis, who played for the Warriors from 2005-’12. “So with me being a young guy and I had to try to teach the other young (Golden State) guys — and half of them didn’t want to listen — it’s very frustrating.
“Coming here (to the Mavs) where it’s a lot of veteran guys who understand the game, you don’t have to do much teaching. The only thing you have to do is police one another and go out and play for one another.”
“I have grown a lot, meaning I cherish my great years that I had over at Golden State,” Ellis said after Monday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “The bad [years] that I had — it took me so far into a deep hole that at some point basketball — it wasn’t even basketball to me. It was more of a business.
“But being away and coming here really brought joy back to me to want to enjoy the game and love to be in the gym and work and want to get better.”
A player who guards his privacy, Ellis revealed why he turned down a lucrative two-year, $24.8 million contract extension offered by the Bucks prior to last season. That would have given Ellis a three-year contract worth $35.8 million, meaning he walked away from $10.8 million to sign with the Mavs instead.
“I left that money on the table because I’m blessed to have made the money I done made and to save the money I done saved,” Ellis said. “It’s not even about the money.
“One thing about me is if I wasn’t getting paid to play basketball, I’d still be playing basketball. I don’t do it for the money. I do it for the love, the joy and for the win.”
And since Ellis couldn’t see any blueprints the Bucks had for winning, he didn’t want to stick around Milwaukee.
“Milwaukee wasn’t like — I didn’t know what they wanted to do,” said Ellis, aware that the Bucks have the NBA’s worst record at 13-50. “And this season tells it all: that I made the right decision to leave that money on the table to come over here to be in a winning organization and be happy.”