Warriors

Warriors

The calendar has flipped to 2019, which means it’s time for the “new year, new us” promises that many of us intend to keep but likely will not.

New Year’s resolutions can be a good way to identify goals, though, and since sports organizations typically are performance-driven machines, you can bet they have some.

We asked NBC Sports Bay Area’s roster of insiders and reporters to examine what would be New Year’s resolutions for the teams they cover. Whether or not those teams will stay with these goals will be known soon …

Warriors: Pay the price to keep Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson

The Warriors would like to have all four of their All-Stars — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — on the roster when they open Chase Center in 2019.

Curry is under contract through 2022 and Green through 2020. Durant and Thompson will be unrestricted free agents and, therefore, on the market. Thompson has expressed his desire to return, while Durant has been non-commital.

It can be done, but the costs will be exorbitant. Durant could command a long-term deal in excess of $200 million, and Thompson would be only slightly cheaper. The Warriors would have to immediately start digging  into the revenue generated by Chase Center.

-- Monte Poole

Kings: Set a new foundation by making the playoffs this season

Sacramento’s players have set the lofty goal of making the playoffs and snapping the franchise’s 12-year postseason drought, but very few of them have ever experienced what it’s like to play meaningful games in March and April when every win and losses tips the scales. 

 

Playoffs would be a dream scenario, but sometimes setting smaller goals along the way can pay huge dividends. The Kings haven’t finished a season above .500 since the 2005-06 campaign. In fact, this is the first time the team has made it to Jan. 1 above .500 since the 2004-05 season.

The Kings’ 2019 New Years resolution should be to fight like hell to make the playoffs, but if that fails, they should attempt to finish the season with a .500 or better record. 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There might come a point when teams around them get hot and they slide in the standings. As long as they have additional goals to focus on beyond just making the playoffs, they'll have a chance at a highly successful season that mixes both player development and building a winning culture. 

-- James Ham

49ers: Make the whole team better by adding game-changing pass rushers

The 49ers resolve to add two upgrades at edge rusher after not even bothering with the thin group that was available a year ago.

The 49ers have the No. 2 overall draft pick. Free agency begins more than a month before the draft. The 49ers will have the opportunity to sign a pass-rusher, such as Ziggy Ansah or Dante Fowler, then add another edge rusher at the top of the draft, such as Nick Bosa or Josh Allen.

DeForest Buckner led the 49ers with 12 sacks as an inside rusher. But the 49ers did not generate much of a pass rush other than him. The addition of an edge rusher would have a positive influence on every level of the team’s defense, especially in pass coverage, and would likely lead to a top-10 defense.

-- Matt Maiocco

Raiders: Make fans forget about unpopular trades

Can they put the Khalil Mack trade in the past?

The Khalil Mack trade defined entire 2018 Raiders season. Head coach Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders took a sharp turn downhill after trading the All-Pro edge rusher to Chicago for a compensation package that included two first-round picks. The Raiders gave their best player to the Bears on Sept. 1 and didn’t get anything back that could help the 2018 team, meaning the Silver and Black were discernibly worse (and a bit demoralized) after the trade.

Mack was a discussion point throughout the Raiders’ season, especially with him thriving in Chicago and turning the Bears into a legitimate contender for the NFC title.

All the Mack talk wore on Gruden after a while, and he certainly doesn’t want to continue that conversation in 2019. The Raiders will use one of the two first round draft picks coming up this April that they received for Mack, so he’ll come up again then and again whenever that player is evaluated.

 

The Raiders desperately want to move on from their controversial trades, but can they really do that? It won’t be easy. Winning football games and making smart personnel decisions is the only way to truly put the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades in the rearview mirror.

-- Scott Bair

Giants: Start the year healthy, and stay healthy

As the Giants go into a new year with a goal of being a bit more competitive, they are not unlike much of their fan base. If you asked them for a resolution in 2019, they simply would like to be a bit healthier.
 
This is an aging roster, one that should be deeper when Farhan Zaidi is done with his tinkering around the edges, but still will rely on players in their thirties staying on the field. Buster Posey turns 32 in March and there is nothing Zaidi can do that would be more impactful than Posey returning to form after hip surgery. The Giants could use quality innings from 33-year-old Jeff Samardzija and bounce back years from Brandon Crawford, 31, and Brandon Belt, 30. They need more from 33-year-old Evan Longoria, and 28-year-old Joe Panik, who should be in his prime.

Giants officials like to provide reminders that the team wasn’t too far out of the race into August, when the injuries became insurmountable. They believe that if they can be healthier in 2019, they can compete. But as millions find out every year, it’s often quite hard to stay healthy in the new year.

-- Alex Pavlovic

A’s: Build a rotation that will return Oakland to the playoffs

As the calendar turns from 2018 to 2019, the A's should have one main New Year's resolution: put together a playoff-caliber starting rotation. It seems like a simple idea, but it won't be easy to accomplish.

Oakland's payroll is already close to $90 million, more than last season's starting and ending totals. As it currently stands, the A's rotation will likely include Mike Fiers, Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, and Chris Bassitt, with top prospect Jesús Luzardo possibly getting a shot out of Spring Training. That's a mostly unproven group and Oakland would be wise to add two more quality starters.

Unfortunately, quality starters have not been going for cheap this offseason. The Angels gave Trevor Cahill $9 million and Matt Harvey $11 million. Nathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ each got $17 million a year. The A's may not have any room in their payroll for another quality starter, let alone two. But they still have to try.

-- Ben Ross

Sharks: Improve the defense and limit the number of goals allowed

There’s no denying the Sharks are giving up more goals so far this season than they have in season’s past. San Jose has prided itself on being a defensively sound club during Peter DeBoer’s tenure, typically giving up one or two goals a game. Through the start of the 2018-19 campaign, however, it has become common for them to give up three or more.

 

While the defense has tightened up and the goaltending has improved, limiting the number of goals-against isn’t entirely in the Sharks’ power. As Sam McCaig of The Hockey News points out, scoring across the league is up to 6.2 goals per game, the highest it has been in a couple decades. Whether that has more to do with the talent in the league being better or the change in the goalie pads having that drastic of an impact, it’ll be hard to stop the rate at which opposing players are scoring. 

Nevertheless, the Sharks must keep striving to have a strong defensive game night after night in an effort to keep the number of goals-against.

-- Chelena Goldman