End of an era with Golden State Warriors preparing to lose franchise legend

2022 NBA Finals - Game Six
2022 NBA Finals - Game Six / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

In a day that's seemingly grown more and more inevitable as time has passed, Klay Thompson's tenure with the Golden State Warriors appears to be in its final hours.

In a blockbuster report on Friday afternoon, The Athletic's Shams Charania and Anthony Slater have stated that the "Warriors are preparing to lose Thompson" in what will be a gut-wrenching moment for the franchise and its fans.

The Golden State Warriors will say goodbye to a legendary era with Klay Thompson's expected departure in free agency

The Warriors are likely to explore sign-and-trade possibilities to at least recoup something of value in return, but that's unlikely to release too much of the sadness associated with losing one of the franchise's greatest ever players.

"The five-time All-Star guard is determined to find a new home elsewhere for his 14th NBA season and beyond, with both sides believing their 13-year run together is over, league sources said."

Shams Charania and Anthony Slater

Thompson provided countless memories that will live eternally in Golden State history. His 37-point third-quarter barrage against the Sacramento Kings in 2015 remains a single quarter scoring record, and in 2016 he became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points in less than 30 minutes of playing time. His place as one of the greatest shooters of all-time will forever be etched in history, with the 34-year-old holding the record for most threes in a game (14) set against the Chicago Bulls in 2018.

For all the exhilarating moments Thompson brought, his return from two major leg injuries to help the Warriors to the 2022 championship may be his finest achievement. The first injury -- a torn ACL -- came in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals where, after initially walking back to the locker room, Thompson returned to an ovation and made two free-throws before attempting to run back on defense -- a moment fans will never forget.

In a 13-year career with the franchise, Thompson helped the Warriors to four NBA championships, made five All-Star appearances and made two All-NBA Teams. He formed the league's greatest shooting duo with back court teammate Stephen Curry, and together with Draymond Green established one of the league's most iconic trios of all-time.