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Lakers trade rumors: Pau Gasol could be traded if he doesn't improve, according to report

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Pau Gasol could be traded if he doesn't improve both on and off the court.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers believe Pau Gasol can succeed under Mike D'Antoni, but if his play and attitude do not improve the team will consider trading him prior to the February trade deadline, reports ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein:

The Los Angeles Lakers prefer to keep struggling center Pau Gasol and believe he eventually will have success in coach Mike D'Antoni's system, but his recent comments and subpar play have caused them to begin weighing whether to make him available before the NBA's annual trade deadline in February, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

The Lakers have yet to engage in any Gasol-related trade discussions with other teams, sources told ESPN.com. But Gasol's recent comments about his frustrations with his role in the Lakers' offense, his impending free agency, and his struggles offensively and particularly defensively have essentially forced the team to consider its options.

It's worth noting the team has not opened up any trade discussions -- according to "sources" at least -- regarding Gasol. The news follows up a tumultuous day for the Lakers that began with Gasol pinning blame on being misused by Mike D'Antoni on offense for his struggles and D'Antoni responding by ripping into Gasol's effort on the court.

More on PauMike D'Antoni rips Gasol

D'Antoni held a meeting prior to the Lakers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday and urged players to go directly to him with any issues or complaints instead of feeding quotes to media and stirring public controversy. Gasol repeatedly took personal responsibility for his play after the 122-96 loss to the Thunder, not mentioning any issues with the "system" he's playing in.

The Lakers have not discussed a contract extension with Gasol. Gasol is averaging 14.4 points per game on a career-low 42.6 percent field goal percentage.