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Klay Thompson offers thoughtful farewell to Warriors, fans in Instagram post

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Klay Thompson offered a farewell message to the Bay Area and Golden State fans after departing the Warriors in free agency this week to join the Dallas Mavericks on a three-year, $50 million contract.

On Instagram, Thompson posted to his 17.1 million followers Friday a photo of himself holding his new No. 11 jersey from after being drafted by the Warriors in 2011 with the 11th overall selection out of Washington State.

“Oh Bay Area, there are not enough words and images to convey how I really feel about yall,” Thompson wrote. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for the best times of my life. It was such an honor to put that Dubs jersey on from day 1. I really just wanted to be the best I could be and help bring as many championships as possible to the region. The best part was not the rings though, it was the friendships I made that will last a lifetime.”

The 34-year-old Thompson won four championships with the Warriors alongside Splash Brother Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. The veteran guard missed more than 2 1/2 years — the entire 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons — recovering from surgeries on his left knee and right Achilles before returning in January 2022 and calling the recoveries from consecutive injuries one of the hardest and most grueling things he’d ever done.

Curry had hoped to keep playing with Thompson as they made up one of the NBA’s best backcourts.

“Gonna miss you (at)klaythompson,” Curry shared in his own Instagram post Tuesday. “Even though we won’t finish the journey together, what we did will never be done again. Couldn’t have imagined a better run with you and (Draymond Green). Changed the whole Bay Area. Changed the way the game is played. Killa Klay at the center of it all. Thank you for everything bro. Go enjoy playing basketball and doing what you do. Splash Bros 4 life my guy.”

Thompson had a frustrating 0-for-10 shooting performance in a 118-94 loss at Sacramento in the play-in tournament that ended the Warriors season without a playoff berth after they won the 2022 NBA title. He said when the season ended he wanted to chase a fifth championship before his career is done.

Several times Thompson had expressed his desire to stay with Golden State for his entire career, saying earlier this year, “I would love to be a Warrior for life.”

Instead, the emotional Thompson is moving on with the Mavericks.

Thompson, a regular boater and bay swimmer who loved to sport a captain’s hat that earned him the nickname “Captain Klay,” also expressed his gratitude to Golden State — with a trio of hashtags: #foureverchamps, #splashbros4life and #oaklandforever.

“My family and I would like to thank all ok the amazing people who work tirelessly to make the (at)Warriors organization world-class,” he said. “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened. Until we meet again. Sea captain out.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

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