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Rudy Gay feels healthy in possibly his last season with Kings

The Kings’ Rudy Gay poses during a photo shoot during the team’s media day at Golden 1 Center on Monday September 26, 2016 in Sacramento. Gay says he’s in the best shape of his life, and says he will opt out of his contract following the 2016-17 season.
The Kings’ Rudy Gay poses during a photo shoot during the team’s media day at Golden 1 Center on Monday September 26, 2016 in Sacramento. Gay says he’s in the best shape of his life, and says he will opt out of his contract following the 2016-17 season. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The Kings can expect many questions about Rudy Gay this season.

Gay will opt out of his contract after this season and become an unrestricted free agent, fueling speculation the Kings will trade the forward to avoid losing him with no compensation.

“I made the decision to opt out,” Gay said Monday during the team’s media day. “Whether I sign here, whether I’m here the rest of the season or whether I start here, it’s really not up to me. Wherever I am, I’m going play to the best of my ability.”

We’re talking, and everything is pretty much how it needs to be.

Rudy Gay, Kings forward, on his dialogue with general manager Vlade Divac

Gay believes he’ll maximize his talent after undergoing shock treatment in the offseason for Achilles’ problems.

“The procedure I had this summer addressed something that’s been nagging me for a little while,” he said. “I’m the type of person who tries to play through things and tries to make the best out of every situation. But I feel like that was something that I was fed up with and had to be addressed.”

Gay said he’s ready for the first practice of training camp Tuesday. His scoring average dipped to 17.2 points last season, when he played in pain and struggled in coach George Karl’s system.

“I’m pain-free,” Gay said. “I’m in the best shape of my life, I’d like to say, and I’m focused. No matter what, I come here to play with my brothers, and that’s everybody in that locker room, and we’re playing to win.”

Gay said the dialogue between himself and general manager Vlade Divac has been good lately.

I’m in the best shape of my life, I’d like to say, and I’m focused. No matter what, I come here to play with my brothers, and that’s everybody in that locker room, and we’re playing to win.

Rudy Gay, Kings forward

“We’re talking, and everything is pretty much how it needs to be,” Gay said.

Still a King – When the Kings acquired the rights to center Georgios Papagiannis in a draft-day trade a year after picking center Willie Cauley-Stein, many observers thought the team would trade veteran center Kosta Koufos in the offseason.

Yet Koufos was at the Kings’ practice facility Monday.

“The way I look at it, it’s a business,” Koufos said. “I’ve been here for so many years, and I’ve proven to the NBA and teams at any given time I can help teams win games whether it’s starting or coming off the bench. For me, I’m just taking it day by day. Just do what I can to help the team win games.”

Rebuilding – All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins said he wasn’t frustrated because he was starting the season with yet another new coach. Dave Joerger is Cousins’ sixth head coach in seven seasons.

“When something is broke, you’ve got to fix it,” Cousins said. “That’s what this process has been, and I think we’re on the right pathway now.”

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

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

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