Warriors losing franchise legend to conference contender would be bitter pill to swallow

Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks
Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Klay Thompson's decorated 13-year career at the Golden State Warriors appears to be on the brink as the relationship between player and franchise reportedly continues to sour.

NBA Insider Marc Stein labelled the relationship as "irretrievable" on Friday, with a number of options likely to now be on the table for the five-time All-Star in free agency.

Losing franchise legend Klay Thompson to the Dallas Mavericks will be a tough pill to swallow for the Golden State Warriors

Stein has also reported that there is "strong mutual interest" between Thompson and the Dallas Mavericks, suggesting the NBA finalists may have jumped to the top of favoritism to land the 34-year-old shooting guard.

The Warriors have clearly prioritized other areas of business, most notably their trade pursuit of Paul George who has emerged as a serious possibility in recent days. The Athletic's Anthony Slater and Sam Amick reported on Friday that Golden State "have legitimate interest in making George part of their new core alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green."

It's going to be no easy task for the Warriors to let go of one of their greatest ever players, but it's something they may have come to terms with if it means getting an on-court upgrade in George. However, if Thompson does leave and lands at the Dallas Mavericks, that's going to be an even tougher pill to swallow.

Perhaps the Warriors would be somewhat content if he takes a big financial deal to head East to the Orlando Magic or Philadelphia 76ers, but Thompson heading to a direct Western Conference contender is going to be so much harder to stomach.

Playing alongside Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving could be a perfect fit offensively, allowing the veteran sharpshooter to eat off open catch-and-shoot opportunities. It may be more of a question mark defensively,

Even more hurtful would be if Thompson spurns Golden State for a rather mediocre deal from Dallas who, even after dumping Tim Hardaway Jr.'s contract, have limited financial capacity compared to other teams.

It's unlikely that the Warriors would be able to re-sign Thompson if they guarantee Chris Paul's contract and trade for George, but there's still a pathway to do so if they can get off other salary currently on the books for next season.