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Big Week Ahead For Lakers: Can Carmelo Anthony Be Traded, Already?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing well of late, winning seven straight and nine out of 10 games before Sunday's "road" loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. At 30-12, the Lakers are tied with the Miami Heat for the third-best record in the NBA. However, the Lakers have only played 10 teams with a winning record this season, going 5-5 in those games. Their upcoming schedule would get considerably easier if Carmelo Anthony is traded by the Denver Nuggets, although that seems unlikely at this point.

This week is filled with tough tests, as the Lakers play three games against top playoff contenders in the Western Conference. They will have to play better than they have been playing to continue winning games, but the two rings on their hands from the last two seasons suggest the Lakers might just be pretty good when their feet is held to the fire. Here is a look at the schedule this week for the Lakers:

Monday - Home vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (27-13): Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder are tied with the Jazz for the lead in the Northwest Division

Wednesday - at Dallas Mavericks (26-13): Dallas lost seven of nine games without Dirk Nowitzki, then got blown out by Memphis in Dirk's first game back. This will be the Lakers' first look at the Mavericks with Tyson Chandler and their improved length.

Friday - at Denver Nuggets (23-17): The Carmelo Anthony trade talks with the Nets have been seemingly endless, and although there were reports of Nets being granted permission to talk contract extension with Carmelo, it appears unlikely that a deal will be completed this week. Expect Carmelo in uniform Friday in Denver, which makes the Nuggets a formidable foe.

For more Lakers news, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.