Latest report deals major blow to Warriors' hopes of re-signing franchise legend

Golden State Warriors v Orlando Magic
Golden State Warriors v Orlando Magic / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Golden State Warriors fans, get ready for the crazy offseason drama and rumors to begin. Entering this season, it had to be in the back of everyone's minds, within both the organization and fanbase, that there was a possibility this would be the last time we see Klay Thompson in a Warrior jersey. 

In the final season of his five-year, $190 million deal, Thompson had a challenging year that didn't meet expectations. His inconsistent play and the signs of father time catching up have left many wondering about the future. With an average of 17.9 points per game, his lowest since the 2012-2013 season, and a disappointing performance to finish the season -- going 0-of-10 in an elimination game -- the potential impact of his departure is a concern many share. 

The Golden State Warriors have shown interest in riding off into the sunset with the big three, but money talks and one young Eastern Conference team will have plenty this off-season

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday, Klay Thompson and the Orlando Magic share a mutual interest heading into free agency. The Magic will be able to create almost $60 million in cap space this off-season to form a more formidable group next to young stars Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner.

Klay would undoubtedly help fill some holes within the Magic roster -- Orlando averaged the fewest three-point makes per game and ranked 24th in three-point percentage this season, while scoring 94 points or less in three of their four losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game first-round playoff exit.

While most believe this version of Thompson is worth somewhere between $20-25 million per season, the Magic could blow the Warriors (and other rival teams) out of the water with something closer to $35-40 million annually on a short-term deal. That could prove too much for Golden State to be willing to pay as they endeavour to manage their payroll and duck under the NBA's second tax apron.

Even if Thompson doesn’t end up in Orlando, there will be plenty of interest from teams around the league that could help the 34-year-old leverage a better deal to stay with the only franchise he's ever known.