The Golden State Warriors' status as a model of consistency in the NBA could take a hit if Klay Thompson leaves in free agency. Seeing one of their stars on another team would officially mark the beginning of the end for one of basketball's best teams.

Thompson has been with the Warriors for 13 years now, launching threes and winning four championships in one of the most storied careers in franchise history. He gave a lot to the organization, rehabbing from injuries that sidelined him for two whole seasons and taking a spot off the bench this season to allow them to play rookie Brandin Podziemski more. But now it seems like his time could be up in the Bay Area.

Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. said that the team wants the Splash Brother back and is hopeful that he will stick around with the only NBA home he has ever known. He mentioned that it’s impossible to separate the emotional aspect of Thompson's future with the team but he still has to focus on coming to terms that the NBA, as the saying goes, is still a business.

“We want him back. I think we’ve said that all along. Hopeful [that] he will come back,” Dunleavy said, declining to disclose more specific information about where talks stand with Thompson. The five-time All-Star isn’t satisfied with those negotiations dating back much longer than this past season. Although his familiarity with standing with the team is undeniable, it may not be enough for him to continue his career there.

Warriors hoping to re-sign Klay Thompson in 2024 free agency

It would be shocking to see Thompson in any other jersey besides the Warriors' threads. It would instantly join the likes of Tony Parker in a Charlotte Hornets uniform, Damian Lillard in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform, and even Chris Paul in a Warriors uniform as new destinations for star players that don’t feel right. Unless Golden State can repair the rift he feels, Thompson is probably joining a new team.

Losing Thompson, even as he starts to slow down due to age, would be a big blow to the Warriors. He can still be a very productive player and the experience he has playing alongside Stephen Curry and Draymond Green is invaluable. But with how the front office has handled his negotiations compared to the other two, Thompson may not feel the respect he deserves.

Thompson's 3-and-D archetype made him immensely valuable to the Warriors but is also what makes him a good fit on other teams. The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic both have cap space and can offer Thompson a big role and the chance to win. Heading East would be really different for Thompson but he is not without his options to keep Golden State honest.

The Warriors may feel strongly about wanting to keep Klay Thompson but it won’t mean much unless their actions show it. He's not a max-contract-level player anymore but Golden State could still sign him to one more deal of just three seasons to keep him around for the rest of his good days.