The Golden State Warriors almost traded Stephen Curry for the Milwaukee Bucks, but doctors believe his ankle injuries could be a serious problem

Since 2015, Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo have won two MVP Awards. Both have earned a Finals MVP award, with Antetokounmpo winning in 2021 and Curry earning his first award in recent Finals. The biggest difference between the two is that Curry has four championships, while Antetokounmpo has only one. That said, both are champions and MVP candidates and will go down as the greatest players in NBA history.

There was a time when these two stars almost played together. If that had happened, would their development have been the same? Their legacy is already intact, considering they are draft products that stayed with their drafted team and brought a title to town. However, Curry was nearly traded to the Bucks. It could have been a version of Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker enhanced to the max if Curry and Antetokounmpo were teammates.

What if this trade had gone down?

Commercial details

Trade details: Stephen Curry to Milwaukee Bucks

Golden State Warriors host: Andrew Bogut

The Milwaukee Bucks receive: Stephen Curry, Ekpe Udoh, Kwame Brown

The Warriors eventually traded for Bogut, who became a vital part of their 2015 championship team. Curry spoke about the actual trade that unfolded on the Draymond Green podcast. Bogut and Stephen Jackson were acquired for Monta Ellis, Udoh and Brown. Curry said he remembered seeing the trade appear on television.

“I’m recorded getting ready to play in the game, and you see through the ticker on the TV in the locker room like breaking news, NBA trade, Warriors trade Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and whatever another one for Andrew Bogut, and that’s how we found out.”

Bogut was considered a losing product in some trade evaluations. Bogut reportedly asked for a trade. At the time, Bogut was sidelined with an ankle injury, and that left the Warriors without their top scorer in Ellis at the time. It was also a rocky start to his Warriors career. Bogut only played 32 games in the 2012-13 season.

The Bucks wanted Stephen Curry but had concerns

After the trade was finalized, we learned that the Bucks wanted Curry. Curry entered the 2012-13 season fourth in the league. His 2011-12 season saw him average 14.7 points, 5.3 assists, and shoot 45.5% from three points. Curry said then-head coach Mark Jackson approached him and said the Bucks originally wanted him.

According to Curry, Jackson pulled him aside and said, “I just had to let you know [the Bucks] wanted you in the trade. Curry also confirmed that team doctors were the reason he was not treated. exchange”.

“The doctor part, I can’t put a name to it, but I know it was part of the conversation because it all happened at once for me,” Curry said. “I knew exactly where we were, we were in Sacramento. It was the year of the lockout, so it was right at the trade deadline. We arrive at the arena and walk into the locker room. I was on the first bus, Monta usually comes on the second bus.

At the time, Curry dealt with his first major ankle injury. That year is one of the worst seasons of his career apart from the 2019-20 season where he also missed time with injuries. That said, Curry rebounded in his fourth season. It started an All-Star streak and marked the beginning of his rise to becoming the greatest shooter of all time.

Projected alignment of the warriors if the exchange took place

Projected alignment of the warriors if the exchange took place

PG: Jarrett Jack

SG: Klay Thompson

SF: Harrison Barnes

PF: David Lee

C: Andrew Bogut

Thompson was a rookie who didn’t really develop until a few years later. Thompson’s second season is where we started to see some real development. Thompson averaged 16.6 points and shot 40.1 percent from three-point range in his sophomore year. He probably should have played a bigger role offensively. Had that not happened, he would have been developed more defensively as the team’s primary wing defender as Jack was not a consistent defensive player.

Barnes’ growth would also have been essential. Barnes was 20 at the time. The combination of Thompson and Barnes wouldn’t have been material for the splash brothers, but it would still have been a nice duo. Lee and Bogut’s interior could have been solid defensively. Bogut was an All-Defensive player when healthy, while Lee could focus more on scoring in the paint.

Bucks Projected Lineup If Trade Happened

Bucks Projected Lineup If Trade Happened

PG: Brandon Jennings

SG: Stephen Curry

SF: Luc Mbah a Moute

PF: Ersan Ilyasova

C: Larry Sanders

The Bucks already had a point guard in Brandon Jennings, who was a pretty solid player at the time. He averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists in the 2012-13 season. The addition of Curry would have regulated him to shooting guard duties. The backcourt duo of Curry and Jennings could have had the same effect as Jennings and Ellis. The season saw Ellis average 19.2 points and 6.0 assists, but the team finished 38-44 for the season.

The other plays around Curry weren’t going to be significant long-term contributors. Udoh averaged 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds but averaged 17.3 minutes of playing time. As for Brown, he would linger in the league for a short time. Curry would have needed another superstar on the road to replicate his success with the Warriors. This would happen in the summer of 2013 when Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted by the team.

The following

The trade worked out really well for the Warriors. Bogut helped the Warriors win a championship in 2015, where he was a second-team All-Defensive selection at center. With Bogut in the middle, the team was fortified defensively. Bogut would also play in the NBA Finals with the Warriors in 2016 and 2019, but walk away with the only championship ring.

As for Ellis, he lasted 1 and a half seasons with the Bucks. Ellis played in 21 games in 2011-12 and appeared with 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The 2012-13 season saw him average 19.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.1 steals. Ellis eventually left for free agency in 2013, joining the Mavericks on a three-year, $25 million deal. If the Bucks had made a deal involving Curry, it would have been more likely that he stayed with the team.

The question at stake would be whether the Bucks would pay Curry. After the 2012–13 season, Curry’s entry-level (rookie ladder) contract came to an end. Curry would agree to a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the Warriors in 2013. The Bucks likely would have paid Curry a contract extension if they offered him Bogut, so let’s just assume the Bucks locked Curry up for four years. . .

Around this time, Antetokounmpo would have entered the league as a rookie in 2013. His first two seasons in the league were somewhat lackluster. In the 2015-16 season, he averaged 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.9 blocks. If Curry is playing as a unanimous MVP this season, which he won in 2016, presumably these two lead the Bucks in the conversation for a deep playoff push.

We can then assume that this partnership works. Let’s not forget that Khris Middleton joined this team the same year as Curry. Those big three would probably be good enough for Curry to step down from the team in 2017. Then you have two MVP candidates on the same team. The Bucks won a championship without Curry, but we could be talking about the Bucks dynasty and not the Warriors if it had worked out.


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