Could Eastern Conference team take next step by stealing Klay Thompson from the Warriors?

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

Klay Thompson's future may have been on the agenda since the offseason, but we've officially hit a point where Golden State Warriors' fans may be getting nervous about one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

With no contract extension forthcoming between the two parties, the post trade deadline period is now awakening more Thompson discussion. No longer is it just about whether or not he'll stay at the Warriors, but now about which rival teams could be interested should he depart the only team he's ever known.

Could the Orlando Magic view Golden State Warriors' guard Klay Thompson as a key building block in taking the next step's up the Eastern Conference standings?

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported last week that Thompson is set to explore the free agency market, with a number of possible suitors interested in the 34-year-old. Now, one of those teams has been further detailed as a possible destination.

NBA Insider Marc Stein has reported that the Orlando Magic's potential interest in Thompson is gaining traction, though he remains of the belief that the four-time champion will ultimately remain with the Warriors.

"I remain convinced that Thompson will ultimately find common ground with Golden State on a new contract in the offseason that keeps him connected with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green...However...Something to file away: Orlando has been increasingly mentioned as a potential suitor for Thompson in free agency."

Marc Stein
Paolo Banchero, Klay Thompson
Orlando Magic v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Orlando may present as somewhat of an issue for Golden State. In any contract discussion, the franchise will know that Thompson most likely wants to remain on a championship-contending team going forward.

Many of those contending teams won't have the salary cap space to blow the Warriors out of the water with a major offer. However, the Magic do have that capacity should they be willing to let go of some of their mid-tier players on expiring deals.

Are Orlando in title contention though? Perhaps not right now, yet with Thompson and rising stars Paolo Banchero and Franz Wager, along with a productive supporting cast, they could easily see themselves as a legitimate playoff threat next season. It's an attractive destination for Thompson or any other veteran, particularly if their current team isn't willing to provide a similar offer.

Even if Thompson has little intention on leaving Golden State for Orlando, he and his management could, at the very least, use the Magic as leverage to garner a bigger contract from the Warriors in free agency.

That in itself will open up questions given Golden State's place above the second-tax apron, not to mention the decisions they have to make on Chris Paul among others once the offseason rolls around.