Klay Thompson Leaves Golden State Warriors: A New Chapter Begins

Klay Thompson Leaves Golden State Warriors: A New Chapter Begins

For the Golden State Warriors, this marks the end of an era.

Klay Thompson is set to sign a three-year, $50 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks, ending his 13-year tenure with the Warriors, 12 of which he spent alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

Together, they built a dynasty, reaching six NBA Finals and winning four championships in eight years. They formed one of the league’s longest-tenured trios, anchoring one of the greatest teams ever, which set an NBA record with 73 wins in the 2015-16 season.

In a league known for constant change, the Warriors’ Big Three were a rare constant. We got to know them as individuals, as friends, and as brothers. Curry played with joy. Green played with intensity. Thompson played with heart.

Then we saw her heart break.

Thompson was at the peak of his career, considered one of the greatest shooters of all time, known for his decisive performances, before consecutive ACL and Achilles injuries sidelined him for two and a half seasons, from 2019 to January 2022.

Since then his struggle has become evident.

He desperately wanted to get back to his best form. He endured two grueling rehabs to get back on the field. We saw him holding back tears with a towel over his head just before his return. We know how much he wanted it.

But he hasn’t been the same player since his return. Last season, he averaged 17.9 points on 43.2 percent shooting from the field and 38.7 percent from beyond the arc, his lowest points since the 2012-13 season.

Thompson remains an elite scorer and solid defender. But things have changed and he no longer consistently reaches the heights he once did. He’s also incredibly hard on himself when he feels like he’s not playing well. Or when his shots aren’t as explosive as they once were. Or when he’s in a shooting slump. Or when his game is affected by knee and Achilles injuries.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr advised him last season to enjoy the moment before it all goes by. That helped change Thompson’s perspective. He tried to rediscover his love for the game.

But it is clear that for some time now the trend has been towards a separation.

Will Klay Thompson join the Mavericks’ title contenders?

Thompson’s contract extension talks stalled after he reportedly turned down a two-year, $50 million extension offer. Last season, he was asked to come off the bench for a while. There was a growing rift between how Thompson wanted to be seen and how management saw him.

After the Warriors failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, Thompson’s teammates and coach made it clear they wanted him back.

“I could never imagine myself without those two guys (Thompson and Green),” Curry said.

“It’s not often you get the opportunity to finish with the guys you started with, and we get that opportunity,” Green said on his podcast.

“We desperately want him back,” Kerr said.

But Thompson found the recent front office silence before free agency deafening after committing to this franchise. He wasn’t willing to be a second option. He wasn’t willing to wait. Or play a reduced role. Or take less money than he thought he deserved. Things were broken. And like a wounded ex, he even unfollowed the organization on Instagram in June.

It’s the unfortunate side of the basketball world.

Klay Thompson reportedly traded from the Warriors to the Mavericks

Thompson has spent his entire career with the Warriors after being selected by the franchise with the 11th overall pick in 2011. And it didn’t take long for him to become a superstar.

He set an NBA record for most points in a quarter with 37 in 2015, making 13-of-13 from the field and 9-of-9 from beyond the arc in the third quarter. He scored a career-high 60 points against Indiana in 2016 in 29 minutes with just 11 dribbles.

Scored 41 points in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, helping the Warriors rally from a 3-1 series deficit. Broke Curry’s single-game 3-point record (13) with 14 in 2018 against Chicago, scoring 52 points in under 27 minutes. Made two free throws after suffering a torn ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals.

He is a five-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA player and one-time All-Defensive Team selection. He was the 2016 3-point shooting champion. He is a major reason for the Warriors’ meteoric rise and incredible sustained success.

And it’s clear he loved the team.

He defended Green when he crossed the finish line. He spoke highly of Curry. He deeply respected Kerr.

And he loved the Bay Area. He bought a sailboat and taught himself to sail it.