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The end? Klay Thompson misses all 10 shots in what may be final game with Warriors

Klay Thompson talks about game against Kings and his future with the Warriors
Klay Thompson talks about game against Kings and his future with the Warriors 16:51

Klay Thompson has provided so many memorable moments during his decade-plus run as Stephen Curry's Splash Brother running mate for the Golden State Warriors dynasty.

The Game 6 heroics. The scores of 3-pointers. The shut-down defense against some of the game's top scorers.

Those were all distant memories as Thompson had one of his worst games ever at a big moment, missing all 10 shots he took Tuesday night in a 118-94 loss to the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament that was Thompson's last game before an uncertain summer of free agency.

"Everybody's going to talk about one game," Curry said. "I know he wanted to play better. ... I know he's a true champion. We all prepare ourselves to play our best when the lights are bright. When it doesn't happen, nobody needs to tell you anything.

Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after missing a shot against the Sacramento Kings in the second half during the Play-In Tournament at Golden 1 Center on April 16, 2024 in Sacramento. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Thompson spent the final minutes of the loss sitting on the bench with a blank stare before slowly walking off the court for what might have been the final time in a Warriors uniform.

He went scoreless for the first time since his rookie season and had the most missed shots without a make in a playoff game by a Warriors player in at least 50 seasons.

It was a far cry from his 37-point third quarter against the Kings in 2015 or a 60-point game against Indiana the following season or the 11 3-pointers he hit in the sixth game of the 2016 Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City that helped force a seventh game and an eventual trip back to the NBA Finals.

But Thompson has struggled to get back to that level after missing two full seasons in 2019-20 and 2020-21 with catastrophic injuries to his knee and Achilles. He returned to help Golden State win a fourth championship in this era in 2022 but struggled for long portions of this season.

He was benched in key late-game moments at times, forced to come off the bench during one stretch but had seemed to find his groove late in the season before falling flat against the Kings.

That ended the final season of a five-year contract worth nearly $190 million and now is set to become a free agent in July. The Warriors must decide how much they are willing to pay a 34-year old whose best seasons are in the past after a pair of serious injuries and Thompson must decide how big a pay cut he's willing to take or whether he'd rather finish his career somewhere else.

"We need Klay back. I know he had a tough night tonight," coach Steve Kerr said. "I know I speak for everyone in the organization, we want him back. Obviously there's business at hand and that has to be addressed. ... But what Klay has meant to this franchise, as good as he is, we definitely want him back."

Thompson has been a major part of a franchise that won four championships and made six trips to the Finals from 2015-22. Thompson's 2,481 made 3-pointers in the regular season are the sixth most in NBA history and the 501 he has made in the playoffs are more than anyone other than Curry.

Thompson didn't talk to the media after the game but is expected to talk on Wednesday as the team heads home for an uncertain summer.

"He has a decision to make," forward Draymond Green said. "He's going to make the best decision for him. The team has a decision to make. They'll make the best decision for the team. I don't think there's any scenario where Klay leaves and that's the best scenario for this team of organization. ... They did right by me. They've done right by Steph. They've done right by all of us."

Thompson spoke on Wednesday as members of the team gave their final comments on the season to the media as players were clearing out their lockers.

When questions from reporters focused on what his plans might be for the future, Thompson said he'd hoped that there would be some discussion of the season as a whole.

"There were a lot of games played. It was a pretty big accomplishment. What's up with y'all not wanting to live in the present, bro? It's ridiculous!" he laughed. 

Thompson did eventually make comment on his dismal performance against the Kings and how he felt after the game.

 "Disappointment, 'cause I did not shoot the ball well, obviously. Big old donut. So that wasn't very fun," he said. Though he said seeing a Warriors fan standing by himself wearing his jersey in the nosebleed seats made him feel a little better, considering the history he had playing in Sacramento.

Thompson noted that the biggest lesson he learned this season is that you can't be a front runner and can't shy away from the bad moments and just embrace the great ones, adding that wasn't just a basketball lesson. 

When he was asked how he felt about Kerr, Curry and Green all saying that they wanted Thompson back with the team next year, Thompson said he was grateful to have shared the times he has with them. 

He admitted that winning another championship remained one of his goals. 

"One [ring] for the thumb would be nice," Thompson said.  

He added that he wasn't currently thinking about when his last season would be.

"I'm not trying to put an expiration date on my career. That's kinda something you just go by feel," he said.

This marked the first time the Warriors missed the playoffs in a season when they had the trio of Curry, Thompson and Green healthy. Their 12 seasons as teammates are the second most of any trio in NBA history, trailing only the 14 for San Antonio's Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

"I can never see myself not with those two guys," Curry said. "I understand this league changes and there's so many things that go into it and we're not going to play forever. But we experienced so much together. At the end of the day, I know they want to win and I know I want to win and that's all I worry about."

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