The first time Monta Ellis emerged from the visitors' locker room at Oracle Arena to play against the only franchise he had ever known, he was in an emotional whirlwind.

When he trots onto the court in a Dallas uniform Wednesday night, he'll have his feelings in check.

"It's a different game," Ellis told a crowd of reporters after a practice Tuesday at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. "It doesn't really matter to me. I just come here and try to get a win for the team that I play for now. The first time I came back, it was emotional, because it was my first game playing after getting traded. I got traded to Milwaukee and then had to fly right back to Oakland to play my first game. It's something I had to do."

It couldn't have been more awkward. Ellis was traded to the Bucks in a multi-player deal that landed Andrew Bogut for Golden State on March 13, 2012; the teams then played each other at Oracle on March 16.

The Warriors presented Ellis with a tribute video, celebrating his dynamic scoring during his 6 1/2-year tenure. The fans stood and cheered him, because he was still considered one of their own.

After all, they had watched him grow from second-round pick out of high school into a married man with two children. They had watched him win the league's 2007 Most Improved Player award and go on to score buckets in bushels. They also stood by him as he went through a series of off-court problems.

"I had my years here - some good, some bad - but I always love coming back to see the fans. They're pretty much the best fans in the NBA," he said. "Everywhere I go, everywhere there is a Warriors fan, they all tell me that they miss me here. They stuck with me throughout everything."

Ellis made the decision to opt out of an $11 million deal in Milwaukee to test the free-agent market this summer and then signed a three-year deal with Dallas worth about $25 million. That may be a steal for the Mavs because Ellis is having a season viewed by many as his best.