NBA Trade Rumors: Could the L.A. Lakers Start Trading If Slump Continues?

Mario GonzalezCorrespondent IIJanuary 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11:   Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers stretches during the game wtih the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on January 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 112-57.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers have recently broken out of their slump in commanding fashion, winning their fifth game in a row and destroying the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-57. It was a game so dominant that the Lakers set several franchise records, even giving the Cavs a new one along the way.

All that being said, I'm not convinced that the Lakers have seen the last of their slumping ways. Its one thing to take out your frustrations on a captain-less ship; it's quite another achievement to have a quality win over one of the league's best. Let's not forget that just six games ago the Lakers had been taking a very lackluster attitude into their games. I'm not saying that a change is impossible, but six games is not enough time to convince me that they now are in the mindset of a champion.

Make no mistake that if the Lakers go back to their careless ways, the slump will continue. They have a brutal schedule ahead and will face the Thunder, Mavericks, Nuggets, and Celtics all within the next nine games. Let's also assume that the Clippers will give them a reasonable fight as well, because they certainly want their shot at the defending champions just like anyone else. So what happens if most of these big matchups end in the loss column?

It's not inconceivable that the Lakers make a trade if it looks like they are lacking against the NBA's elite. I wouldn't guess that it would be a blockbuster, but dealing a player like Artest or Blake, maybe Luke Walton, in order to get back another quality contributor wouldn't surprise me in the least. These players are not exactly on the Lakers "untouchable" list" and would serve as good trade fodder for a reasonable deal. (especially Luke Walton)

The big question to think about now is whether a trade would be good for the Los Angeles Lakers if they kept on slumping?

After much consideration, my answer would have to be no. A small move would not be devastating, but this group has too many good things going for it to split it up now. In short, the problem is not with the players abilities at this point but more so about their mental state as a group. 

This five game win streak proves to me that the wheels are in motion for a better mental approach from the Lakers. You could see it most in the Cavaliers game, when the Lakers continued to pile on points and create stops every single possession despite already leading by 40-50 points.

What that tells me is that the Lakers were playing the game, not the score. That being the fundamental practice for a championship mind set, I'd say the Lakers are well on their way to a brighter future.

In Los Angeles, the fans are now in an observational mode. There doesn't seem to be a need for panic anymore, but no one is quite ready to let the Lakers play unsupervised. In terms of a possible looming trade in the locker room, well that ball is in the Lakers court now—literally.

Let's discuss which possible trades would hypothetically benefit the Lakers most below in the comments section!