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Kings’ Darren Collison looks forward to return to haven on court

Kings players, staff all smiles, playful at media day event

The Sacramento Kings hosted a light, playful media day event at the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. Staff, players and even media personalities Gary Gerould and Jerry Reynolds, were all seen joking with one another and also with member
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The Sacramento Kings hosted a light, playful media day event at the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento. Staff, players and even media personalities Gary Gerould and Jerry Reynolds, were all seen joking with one another and also with member

After a summer when he was in the news for reasons he’d like to put behind him, Darren Collison is back where he feels at peace.

The Kings guard pleaded guilty this month to one misdemeanor charge of domestic battery after a May incident at his Granite Bay home involving his wife.

To be honest, I really haven’t focused on the number of games (of a potential suspension) or what the NBA might decide to do. I think the NBA is going to take care of that. I think right now it’s just focusing on what we’ve got to do for training camp.

Darren Collison, Kings guard

Collison received three years of informal probation and a 20-day sentence in the Placer County jail. The probation department can allow him to serve his jail time through an alternative sentencing program.

He also must complete a 52-week batterers’ program and perform 20 hours of community service, and he received a criminal protective order “that allows only peaceful contact with the victim.”

Collison still faces possible discipline from the NBA for the guilty plea.

“To be honest, I really haven’t focused on the number of games (of a potential suspension) or what the NBA might decide to do,” Collison said Monday during the Kings’ media day. “I think the NBA is going to take care of that. I think right now it’s just focusing on what we’ve got to do for training camp.”

Entering his eighth NBA season, Collison is in line to be the Kings’ starting point guard, his role when he signed a three-year contract in July 2014. Last season, he backed up Rajon Rondo, who signed with the Chicago Bulls this summer.

With training camp opening Tuesday morning, Collison feels he’s in a good place mentally.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “Obviously it’s been an unfortunate summer, a difficult offseason. But as a man, you’ve got to take responsibility. Right now, I think what’s best for my family is to move forward and try to focus on basketball. This has been kind of been my safe haven thus far.”

The Kings need Collison to help fix a defense that has been awful in recent seasons and foster the ball movement new coach Dave Joerger wants.

Collison excelled under former coach George Karl. Last season, he averaged 14.0 points, the second most of his career, and 4.3 assists. He also posted career highs in field-goal percentage (48.6) and three-point shooting percentage (40.1).

The Kings rely on Collison’s steadiness, but he can’t perform well if he’s distracted. He believes he’s ready to be focused on the court.

Collison said “making sure home is good, making sure my family is good” has been vital for his mental preparation this season.

“That’s always been something I lean on, making sure my family is straight and then just go from there,” he said.

The Kings have prepared for Collison’s possible absence by signing veteran guards Ty Lawson and Jordan Farmar.

Obviously it’s been an unfortunate summer, a difficult offseason. But as a man, you’ve got to take responsibility. Right now, I think what’s best for my family is to move forward and try to focus on basketball. This has been kind of been my safe haven thus far.

Darren Collison, Kings guard

Lawson had a rough 2015-16 season amid legal issues and struggles with his confidence while playing for the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers. Not long ago, he was among the league leaders in assists and routinely was mentioned as a possible All-Star.

“I’m counting on Ty to be a pro,” Joerger said. “It’s an important year for him. I have a lot of confidence in him. I’m looking forward to him playing well and being a leader for our team. With Darren’s situation, it’s still a little up in the air. We’re waiting to find out how that’ll play out, and Garrett Temple will play some at the one (point guard) as well.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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