For only the second time in the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors did not cap their season with a championship.
Fellow star Draymond Green escaped the series relatively unscathed, but he knows many believe this is the fall of the Golden State dynasty - a notion he clearly disagrees with.
"I think everybody thinks it's kind of the end of us, but that's just not smart," Green said after Thursday's season-ending loss, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell. "We're not done yet. We lost this year. Clearly just wasn't our year, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, it's the end of a run and all that jazz. I don't see it happening though. We'll be back."
Still, this could certainly be a period of change and uncertainty for the Warriors.
In Game 5, Durant returned from his lingering calf injury, only to rupture his right Achilles tendon. Three nights later, Thompson landed awkwardly on a fast-break dunk attempt, tearing his left ACL in the process. The former has a player option worth $31.5 million for 2019-20, while the latter will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Retaining both would ensure the Warriors' team salary remains sky high despite a chance that neither player will see the floor next season.
Beyond Durant and Thompson, rotation mainstays Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are also unrestricted free agents. Although both are in their mid-30s and have shown signs of slipping production, they've been with the Warriors since the first of their three recent titles in 2014-15.
Of course, it's hardly uncommon for a team to lose in The Finals but rally to return the next season. After falling in the 2016 Finals despite boasting a 3-1 series lead, the Warriors have returned to basketball's grandest stage in every year since, securing the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2017 and 2018.