Warriors reportedly preparing for Klay Thompson's exit, with Lakers, Clippers and Mavericks among suitors

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson #11 watches from the bench in the second quarter of their NBA play-in tournament game against the Sacramento Kings at the Golden One Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Tuesday, April 16, 2023. (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

Warriors fans have had plenty of reason to expect Klay Thompson's exit for the past several months, but the possibility became very real Saturday, when the Athletic reported the team is bracing for Thompson's exit.

The Warriors have reportedly had close to zero communication over the past two weeks, when they had a window to exclusively negotiate his return. Both sides now believe Thompson's tenure in the Bay Area is over.

Thompson himself had already provided plenty of warning by wiping his social media of all Warriors mentions.

With Thompson set to hit free agency for the first time of his 13-year career Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are reportedly strong suitors for his talents. All three teams are seeking to contend next season and could use more 3-point shooting. Multiple other teams with salary cap space are also reportedly expected to show interest.

The Lakers and Mavericks can both offer Thompson the $12.9 million midlevel exception, with LeBron James apparently willing to take less to help the Lakers. The Warriors are also reportedly open to facilitating a sign-and-trade.

However Thompson's time with the Warriors will end, there is no taking away from his status as a pillar of a dynasty.

Possession of four championship rings doesn't even capture Thompson's full impact. Alongside Stephen Curry, Thompson was one half of one the greatest backcourts in NBA history, with the Splash Brothers triggering a 3-point shooting revolution in the NBA.

Thompson ranks sixth on the NBA's all-time 3-pointer list, behind Curry, Ray Allen, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Reggie Miller, despite never being the top shooter on his own team. Alongside Curry and Harden, he is one of only three players to make more than 300 3-pointers in a single season.

And, of course, he still holds the record for most 3-pointers in a single game with 14, not to mention the record for consecutive 3-pointers made.

At his best, Thompson was capable of unstoppable onslaughts like few others in NBA history. However, health has been a major issue for him since 2019, when he tore his ACL. A torn Achilles tendon followed in 2020, resulting in a 2 1/2 season layoff. He managed to recover enough to be a key part of the Warriors' championship in 2022, but it was very clear the Warriors weren't going to give him another huge contract at the age of 34.

So Thompson now appears on his way out. Any exit figures to be temporary, as he's bound to enter the Hall of Fame after he retires and spend the rest of his life as a Warriors legend.