Klay Thompson’s decision to leave the Golden State Warriors earlier this week marked the end of one of the most prolific eras in basketball history.

The 34-year-old Thompson, who has played for Golden State since they drafted him 11th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, will now play for the Dallas Mavericks following a sign-and-trade at the onset of this offseason’s free agency period, where he agreed to a three-year, $50 million contract.

The trio of Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green led the Warriors to three NBA championships between 2015 and 2022 while simultaneously revolutionizing the sport with their lethal small-ball lineups. Though Thompson’s departure marks the official end of this chapter, the writing on the wall has actually been there since their fourth title-winning season together back in 2022.

Thompson was, understandably, never the same after suffering a torn ACL and Achilles injury back-to-back in 2019 and 2020. As is the case with most superstars, his decline was difficult to watch, and it grew inevitable that his days with the franchise were numbered. Last season, he took a backseat in Golden State’s rotation, becoming a reserve for the first time since his rookie year.


With Thompson now in Dallas, a new era begins for a Warriors team that remains uncertain about its identity.

The attempt by Golden State’s front office to balance two timelines—the present and future—failed to bear fruit, and they are now left trying to maximize the last few years of Curry’s career. Thompson and Chris Paul are now gone from last year’s roster, and the Warriors’ attempt to bring in Paul George proved to be short-lived due to the Los Angeles Clippers’ reluctance to deal the nine-time NBA All-Star to a division rival.

Golden State still has Curry and Green, but the rest of their roster will have to step up if this team is to have any chance of making a deep playoff run during the upcoming season. Incoming sophomore Brandin Podziemski, the player who replaced Thompson in the starting lineup last year, headlines the Warriors’ returning supporting cast along with Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Gary Payton II, Moses Moody, and Kevon Looney remain with the team as well.

In the wake of Thompson’s departure, it seems that the team has taken a by-committee approach to fill his spot in the rotation. Golden State acquired Buddy Hield from the Philadelphia 76ers in a sign-and-trade for a 2031 second**-round** pick. The 31-year-old Hield gives the Warriors a veteran shooter who can cover for some of the production lost with Thompson.

De’Anthony Melton, Hield’s teammate on the Sixers last year, also signed with Golden State in free agency. The 6’2″ 3-and-D specialist fills many needs for the Warriors on both ends of the floor, and he may see heavy minutes both alongside Curry and as his backup this season.

Even at their best, Hield and Melton may not be able to reach the heights that Thompson did while on this team, though they should be able to provide Golden State with strong enough contributions to keep this team in the postseason hunt. They will be counted on for stability more than upside, and it will be up to the 21-year-old Podziemski and 22-year-old Moody to step up and increase this team’s ceiling.

The team also added playmaking forward Kyle Anderson in free agency this past week. His versatility should allow him to see a prominent role in the upcoming season as he fills in the various gaps in the Warriors’ lineup.

Thompson’s days with Golden State may finally be over, but it is too early to count this team out with Curry and Green still around. These two players will go down as all-time greats, and though time may no longer be on their side, their veteran savvy and experience give them enough of an advantage to remain effective players at this level.

It has never been a good idea to overlook the Warriors, and while Thompson may not be around anymore, this team still has enough championship DNA to make their mark in this next campaign.