Spurs’ Gay feels ‘athletic again,’ happy to be reunited with DeRozan

Rudy Gay is happy to be reunited with his close friend, DeMar DeRozan.

After suffering a season-ending ruptured left Achilles’ tendon injury in 2017 with the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay finally feels 100 percent and can’t wait to get the 2018-19 season started.

Gay re-signed with the Spurs this offseason on a one-year, $10 million deal and knows he will be more productive in his second season with San Antonio now that he doesn’t have to play cautious. This past season, Gay still dealt with a lot of pain in his Achilles’ tendon.

“I feel good,” Gay told Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “I feel good about this season. Everything is clicking. I feel athletic again.”

In 2017-18, Gay averaged 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 57 games. The swingman shot 47.1 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from three.

Before the injury, Gay was one of the most athletic players in the game. He steadily played above the rim and was always a threat running on the fast break. The injury clearly slowed him down, but the veteran is looking to turn some heads in 2018-19.

“I’ve been working hard, man,” Gay said. “I lost about five pounds. Last year was a little bit of a struggle for me, so I tried to alleviate that by taking the weight off my feet by losing a couple of pounds through working out and eating better. It’s now or never right now for me.”

A bigger reason why Gay is anxious for training camp to get underway is it will reunite him with DeMar DeRozan, one of his best friends. Gay and DeRozan were teammates with the Toronto Raptors and were also part of the 2014 USA Basketball World Cup team that won Gold.

The Spurs acquired DeRozan in the Kawhi Leonard trade and Gay is thrilled to have his close pal back on his side.

“That’s my brother, man,” Gay said of DeRozan. “We talked a lot before this even happened, but since the trade, I think we’ve talked like three times a week. He is just like me. We stay out of the way. We like to just laugh and joke. I don’t know. With some people you meet sometimes it’s just instant chemistry. I think that’s really going to help us this year. Nobody expects us to be good. I don’t know why.”

The Spurs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the first-round of the 2018 playoffs in five games. Leonard only played in nine games last year. With a healthy Gay and motivated DeRozan, San Antonio could shock a lot of people.