Klay Thompson walks away from the Warriors: Instant reaction, analysis

The Golden State Warriors say goodbye to Klay Thompson who is signing a three-year, $50 million deal to join the Dallas Mavericks.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors and Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors and Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors' dynasty, the Splash Brothers, the core that defined an entire decade of the NBA, is officially broken up.

For weeks it seemed like it would happen, with talks of Klay Thompson and the Warriors nowhere close in contract negotiations, but for it to actually get to this point seems inexplicable given everything that Klay and the Warriors have been through. He is walking away from Stephen Curry, from the organization that believed in him, to sign with another Western Conference rival.

The competition for Klay was fierce through the start of free agency, but in the end the Los Angeles Lakers and other suitors lost out to the team that offered the clearest path to contention, the Dallas Mavericks. Klay Thompson is signing with Dallas on a three-year, $50 million contract.

Klay Thompson leaving is painful but perhaps inevitable

The Warriors built their dynasty on the elite shooting that came from both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They proved that jumpshooters can win championships, and went to six NBA Finals together. Now Klay is walking away, feeling disrespected by the franchise that he was with for so long.

The Warriors are left to try and pick up the pieces from an offseason that seems to be going all wrong. They thought they made a reasonable and competitive offer to the LA Clippers for Paul George, only to be turned down and for George to end up signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. Klay, pushed to the side by the Warriors while they pursued other options, elected to walk away rather than give it one more go with a Warriors team that, at the least, was likely to offer more than he signed for in Dallas.

Then, unable to find another trade, they were forced to waive Chris Paul's contract or see all $30 million guaranteed, only to watch him sign with the San Antonio Spurs and the greatest NBA player to enter the league since Stephen Curry. Teams in the West are getting stronger, while the Warriors appear to be fading back into the pack.

The Mavericks intend to start Klay on the wing and he will be positively lethal playing alongside Luka Doncic. He remains a deadly shooter despite the erosion of his defense and will help the Mavericks better balance shooting with defense next year as they seek a return to the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks offloaded Tim Hardaway Jr's contract to open up a trade exception to land Thompson, and swapped out Derrick Jones Jr. for Naji Marshall, who left the New Orleans Pelicans and their crowded wing rotation to join Luka and the Mavericks. The starting lineup next season will feature Kyrie Irving, Doncic and Thompson, with either Marshall or P.J. Washington starting at the 4 and either Daniel Gafford or Dereck Lively II at center. It's a formidable group, especially given Dante Exum, Jaden Hardy and Maxi Kleber fill out the rotation.

The Mavericks have found a landing spot for Josh Green in Charlotte to free up the space for Thompson to sign his new $50 million deal, but they still need to work out the sign-and-trade details with the Warriors for the deal to officially occur.

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