For the following three NBA teams, it is time to start planning for the future, and that needs to start by selling off some assets in the present.
With the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, there is no time for teams to remain undecided on if they want to make a push to strengthen themselves this season, or put themselves in a position to be improved next year.
For those in the latter category, here are three teams that need to focus on future improvement.
At 23-29, the Mavericks are in 11th place in the Western Conference and 4.5 games out of the pivotal eighth spot.
There is nothing that has transpired for this team to suggest it is close to making a late surge. This roster is loaded with aging players, and it needs to get younger.
Players like Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Elton Brand all still have value in the NBA, but their age prohibits them from being big assets for the Mavericks as they move forward.
It's time for Dallas to explore dealing some of its veterans to start rebuilding for the future.
At 30-24 and in seventh place in the Western Conference, the Jazz are turning in a solid season, but it would be foolish for this organization to think it could make a deep run in the playoffs.
Combine that with the fact that talented frontcourt players Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are both working on the last year of their current contracts, and it is clear the Jazz need to be sellers.
Utah can't afford to sign both players this offseason. They have too many other needs, primarily adding some perimeter scoring.
The Jazz need to move one of these talented forwards in a deal that will still afford them some salary-cap flexibility and provide some sort of boost to their backcourt.
The Phoenix Suns have more talent than their 17-36 record suggests. Their problem is that the talent they have is just not meshing.
They have three expiring contracts with Wesley Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal and Sebastian Telfair, and also have plenty of players who could add value to teams making a playoff push—like Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat.
Phoenix shouldn't hesitate to trade these guys to pick up some salary cap flexibility and find some talent that will help give the franchise a more complete lineup.
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