What's next for Warriors? Klay Thompson "open" to testing free agent market, Chris Paul isn't retiring

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Play-In Tournament
Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Play-In Tournament

What has been increasingly evident for more than a year came into sharp focus Tuesday night as the Kings bounced the Warriors from the playoffs: If Golden State wants to maximize Stephen Curry's remaining years and chase another ring — and they do — then roster changes are needed.

That could mean Klay Thompson and Chris Paul will be in different uniforms next season.

Thompson would be the shocking one — he, Curry and Draymond Green are the fan-favorite core of four championship teams in Golden State. It would be weird to see him in another uniform. However, while Curry and Green are under contract for a couple more years, Thompson is a free agent this summer.

"We need Klay back..." coach Steve Kerr said after the Warriors loss, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "I know I speak for everybody in the organization. We want him back. Obviously there's business at hand and that has to be addressed with Klay's representatives... as good as he still is, we desperately want him back."

What the Warriors need most is a second shot creator to take the pressure off Curry, a role Klay Thompson used to fill at an All-Star level, plus he was an elite defender. However, two major injuries (ACL and Achilles) and a few years later, Thompson is not that guy anymore. He remains a quality NBA player who can shoot the rock and averaged 17.9 points a game shooting 38.7% from 3 this season. He's had big games this season, but he's also had clunkers, like the 0-of-10 shooting against the Kings on Tuesday.

As it always does, it will come down to money. What is Thompson worth to a team trying to lower its tax bill, which for next season is already at $174 million — $3 million into the luxury tax — without accounting for Thompson or Gary Payton's player option? Or just filling out the roster. Would the Warriors offer, and would Thompson be willing to accept, something in the $18-$20 million a season range, solid starter money? What would he do if Orlando or another team came in over the top with a bigger offer? Shams Charania of The Athletic reports Thompson is open to exploring the market.

The expectation in league circles is that Thompson ultimately re-signs with the Warriors, but things are not so clear with Chris Paul.

What we do know is that Paul has no intention of retiring. He told Anthony Slater of The Athletic that.

"I'll talk to my wife and my kids, my family, my support system, see what it looks like," Paul told The Athletic. "But this isn't (the end of my career). I know it for sure."

Paul is likely one-and-done with the Warriors. He's not going to make anywhere near the $30 million he did this season, but for a Warriors team looking to trim payroll backup point guard is a good spot to do it. Paul is still a quality floor general point guard and veteran leader some teams may want to bring in to round out their rosters and be willing to pay more than the Warriors will for that position. There's a lot in play — Paul's family is on the West Coast and he would prefer to stay close — but when it comes down to money, there may be more for CP3 outside the Bay Area than in it.

Whatever happens this summer, unless Joe Lacob wants to pay for a reunion tour of a good but not great team — what we saw this season out of Golden State — there are going to be big changes coming.