Lakers may consider shopping Pau Gasol if his play doesn't improve

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The disgruntled big man may soon find himself in a familiar place: the trade block.

Pau Gasol's relationship with coach Mike D'Antoni is on the rocks and the former All-Star is having the worst season of his career so far. So something has got to give. According to ESPN Los Angeles, that could soon mean Gasol finds his way out of Los Angeles.

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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.

This is far from the first time Gasol has been the subject of trade rumors in his time with the Lakers. D'Antoni questioned his effort earlier this week and Gasol has criticized his role in D'Antoni's system. Last year, D'Antoni benched Gasol in the fourth quarter multiple times, and the pair's relationship seems borderline irreparable.

Gasol's contract ends after this season, when he'll become an unrestricted free agent. He's averaging a career-low 14.4 points with 9.4 rebounds, and shooting a career-low 42.3 percent.

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