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    Default Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Its the future power rankings 3.0 article.

    thank you in advance!

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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Whomever shares, please remember to include the author and paste the URL link. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/news/...kings-1-100302

    Future Power Rankings: Teams 1-5
    How will your favorite team fare in future seasons? Our experts take a close look


    By Chad Ford and John Hollinger
    ESPN.com

    Note: This is a new, updated version of ESPN's Future Power Rankings of NBA teams. The previous edition ran on Dec. 15, 2009, and the first edition launched on Nov. 10, 2009.

    The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider's projection of the on-court success expected for each team during the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

    HOW FUTURE POWER RATING IS DETERMINED
    PLAYERS (0 to 400 points): Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures
    MANAGEMENT (0 to 200 points): Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching
    MONEY (0 to 200 points): Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax
    MARKET (0 to 100 points): Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city's desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans
    DRAFT (0 to 100 points): Future draft picks; draft positioning
    CATEGORY RANKINGS: See how each team ranked in each category

    Consider this a convenient way to see in what direction your favorite team is headed.

    Each of the NBA's 30 teams received an overall Future Power Rating of 0 to 1,000, based on how well we expected each team to perform in the three seasons following this season.

    To determine the Future Power Rating, we rated each team in five categories (see table at right).

    As you can see, we determined that the most important category was a team's current players and the future potential of those players -- that category accounted for 40 percent of each team's overall Future Power Rating.

    At the same time, we looked at many other factors, such as management, ownership, coaching, a team's spending habits, its cap situation, the reputation of the city and the franchise, and what kind of draft picks we expected the team to have in the future.

    To reach our ratings in each category, we talked to teams to get a handle on their future strategies, we looked at their contractual commitments and we carefully broke down each roster to figure out which players would improve, which would decline and which would likely depart.

    These rankings will evolve as the season moves along, transactions are made, injuries occur, strategies shift and so on. Return from time to time as we update the rankings.

    Here are our current rankings, from 1 to 30:

    Future Power Rankings: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30

    1. Oklahoma City Thunder | Future Power Rating: 692

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    310 (4th) 161 (3rd) 123 (8th) 37 (21th) 60 (12th)

    The Thunder have ascended to the top of the rankings thanks to the continued development of their young core and yet another astute trade. This one filched rookie point guard Eric Maynor from Utah, basically for free, and filled a rotation spot where the Thunder had previously been sorely lacking. Up front, meanwhile, the emergence of shot-blocking forward Serge Ibaka adds another piece to their rapidly expanding talent base.

    That base still has only two true stars -- emerging MVP candidate and possible scoring champ Kevin Durant and his steadily improving sidekick Russell Westbrook. Fortunately, everything is in place for the Thunder to surround them with even more talent. General manager Sam Presti has preserved his cap space and hoarded draft picks, allowing him to trade from a position of strength to build the roster going forward, and the team draws so well that its small-market status shouldn't be an overwhelming concern.

    (Previous rank: 3)

    2. Los Angeles Lakers | Future Power Rating: 686

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    342 (2nd) 149 (5th) 91 (15th) 96 (1st) 8 (29th)

    The Lakers seem to have everything going for them -- they are the defending champs, have the league's second-best record, and seem set for the next few seasons, with a nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. And while the Lakers won't have salary cap space this summer to join the superstar free-agent chase, the game remains rigged in their favor, money-wise: L.A. produces the most revenue of any team and can easily stomach paying luxury tax to keep the likes of Gasol and Lamar Odom.

    Still, they're only second overall in our rankings because of the uncertainty about coach Phil Jackson's future and how that might relate to Bryant's. Jackson has yet to re-up for next year, and the smoke signals coming from L.A. make one wonder whether the team will look for a less expensive replacement. If so, Bryant could play the ultimate trump card by opting out of his contract and signing elsewhere. Is that far-fetched? Perhaps, but as long as it's in play, it's a risk that warrants mentioning.

    The other concern is a paucity of quality young talent. Bynum is the only starter who is likely to get better, rather than worse, over the next three years, and the bench doesn't appear to hold any future stars. With no first-round pick this year, the Lakers will have to hope the current core ages well as they look for opportunities to make trades and sign inexpensive free agents.

    (Previous rank: 2)

    3. Orlando Magic | Future Power Rating: 674

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    354 (1st) 143 (8th) 78 (27th) 76 (3rd) 23 (25th)

    The Magic dropped from first to third in our latest poll, as the specter of eating the back end of several large contracts looms ever larger in their future. While Vince Carter has increased his production of late, neither he nor several other well-compensated teammates (Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus) have delivered at anywhere near the level at which they're paid. All those players still have years to go on their contracts, meaning the small-market Magic could be in a very precarious salary position in another year or two.

    That said, Orlando still rated No. 1 in the players category. With a building block center in Dwight Howard who is a virtual certainty to stay with his team (as opposed to the uncertainty surrounding some of the game's other top stars at the moment), the Magic have the foundation of a great team. And while Howard's expensive supporting cast isn't fully earning its pay, there's no doubt that impressive talent surrounds him. With such assets, a couple of the players who haven't seen as much burn, such as Bass and Gortat, could make for great trade chips this summer.

    (Previous rank: 1)

    4. Miami Heat | Future Power Rating: 653

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    238 (9th) 112 (12th) 155 (2nd) 89 (2nd) 59 (13th)

    The Heat held on to the No. 4 position, but the one thing that might worry them is how much competition they'll have for free agents this summer because of what happened at the trade deadline. Miami was hoping to have more salary-cap room than any other team, but New York blew up that plan by trading Jared Jeffries to Houston. Additionally, Chicago's creation of enough cap space to lure away Dwyane Wade presents a significant risk to the Heat's future plans.

    Nonetheless, the positives far outweigh the negatives right now. Most signs point to the Heat keeping Wade in South Beach and luring another star to join him, especially given the appeal of the Miami market (No. 2 behind L.A. on our list). Though owner Micky Arison hasn't been willing to outspend other teams, the Heat are a well-run franchise from president Pat Riley on down, and they've made creative use of their salary cap options in the past.

    Hence the high ranking. We'd be very surprised if they can't unite Wade with another star to form an Eastern Conference force for the next three seasons.

    (Previous rank: 4)

    5. Portland Trail Blazers | Future Power Rating: 620

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    284 (5th) 153 (4th) 88 (17th) 54 (13th) 41 (18th)

    Portland moves up a spot from the last edition of the Future Power Rankings, mostly because the news on its young players has been largely positive. Second-year guard Jerryd Bayless has emerged as an offensive force off the bench, rookies Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph have shown they can contribute, and second-year forward Nic Batum returned from injury with a vengeance.

    The Blazers did cash in one chip, trading Travis Outlaw for veteran Marcus Camby, but we had already discounted the likelihood of Outlaw returning. Of greater concern going forward is the uneven second season from Rudy Fernandez and the stalled development of forward LaMarcus Aldridge -- and, of course, our continued questions about Greg Oden's ability to stay healthy.

    (Previous rank: 6)

    6. Utah Jazz | Future Power Rating: 585

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    250 (8th) 144 (6th) 80 (26th) 42 (20th) 69 (10th)

    Utah has been excellent lately and remains one of the league's most underrated teams for both the present and the future.

    The Jazz hold the Knicks' first-round pick, which is shaping up as a top-six pick in a solid draft. By adding another young core player to the likes of All-Star point guard Deron Williams and Paul Millsap, both 25, and some other promising young players, Utah has reason for optimism.

    The team also is likely to have a power forward asset in the summer. Carlos Boozer will be an unrestricted free agent, and both he and the Jazz will explore opportunities to move him in a sign-and-trade. Or if the Jazz decide to keep Boozer, they can trade Millsap.

    (Previous rank: 5)

    7. Denver Nuggets | Future Power Rating: 577

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    278 (6th) 141 (9th) 81 (25th) 55 (12th) 22 (26th)

    On the court, we like the Nuggets more than ever -- they're sixth in the players category in our latest rankings, as Chauncey Billups continues to defy the laws of aging and Arron Afflalo has provided a defensive complement to the offensive explosiveness of J.R. Smith. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is an MVP candidate, and Nene remains one of the league's most underrated centers. Throw in a sharp -- although oddly structured and occasionally dysfunctional -- management team consisting of Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman and Bret Bearup, and Denver should be a major force going forward.

    Unfortunately, money issues prevent Denver from ranking higher. Owner Stan Kroenke has been reluctant to go any deeper into the luxury tax for the current team, preventing the Nuggets from acquiring the added size that they'd likely need to get past the Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs. With Denver already projected to be over next season's luxury-tax line with just five players, financial issues are likely to paralyze future transactions as well.

    (Previous rank: 9)

    8. Cleveland Cavaliers | Future Power Rating: 574

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    320 (3rd) 104 (15th) 84 (21st) 53 (14th) 13 (28th)

    The Cavaliers made a major move at the trade deadline, bringing in Antawn Jamison for essentially nothing, but didn't budge in our rankings. Why?

    Although the trade probably improved Cleveland's title hopes this season, the Cavs have done very little to build for the future other than try to encourage LeBron James to stay. Their most recent big acquisitions, Jamison and Shaquille O'Neal, are 33 and 37 (almost 38), respectively, and aren't likely to be part of the long-term solution in Cleveland.

    Still, if James decides to stay, the Cavs will remain a force. But if he decides to leave, the Cavs could suddenly find themselves at the bottom of the barrel with the Wizards and Bobcats. We continue to believe he's more likely to stay than to leave, so that's how the team ended up eighth in the rankings. But that is far from a foregone conclusion.

    Our rankings provide a bit of a road map should LeBron decide to look around. If he wants to join an organization on the rise, Oklahoma City and Chicago are especially good options. Of course, if he's considering the market itself, New York is in the picture, as we all know, and it might be able to add another star to play alongside LeBron in 2010 and yet another in 2011. And Miami might be appealing for a variety of reasons.

    But if James returns, Cleveland will still have the league's best player and a bright future.

    (Previous rank: 8)

    9. Chicago Bulls | Future Power Rating: 573

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    220 (10th) 85 (17th) 153 (3rd) 66 (7th) 49 (17th)

    Last time around, Chicago slid four spots in our rankings from No. 7 to No. 11. In this edition of the Future Power Rankings, the Bulls are back in the top 10, thanks to some savvy moves at the trade deadline that will allow them to chase a superstar in the summer -- Chicago native Dwyane Wade, Raptors forward Chris Bosh or perhaps even LeBron James.

    By getting further under the salary cap, the Bulls moved up to No. 3 in the Money category, and Chicago remains a top market (No. 7 in that category). And with a nice young core of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, the Bulls are also in the top 10 in the Players category.

    Of course, if the Bulls are able to use those factors in their favor and acquire a top free agent, they'll rocket even farther up the overall rankings.

    One sour note: The Bulls gave up on Tyrus Thomas, whom they used the No. 2 pick in 2006 (LaMarcus Aldridge) to obtain. Thomas was inconsistent and difficult, but he still has enormous promise. If he develops his game in Charlotte, it will sting. Still, the Bulls got a future draft pick from the Bobcats in the deal, so it might work out.

    (Previous rank: 11)

    10. Houston Rockets | Future Power Rating: 567

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    176 (19th) 168 (2nd) 87 (18th) 62 (10th) 74 (5th)

    Even though the team has struggled on the court, the Rockets moved up from 13th to 10th in our latest rankings largely because of a clever trade that landed both sharpshooting guard Kevin Martin and at least one first-round pick from the Knicks. Adding Martin improved the ranking of the Rockets' players from 26th to 19th, even though the deal also cost them productive forward Carl Landry. Meanwhile, the picks they got in that deal move the Rockets' draft rating all the way up to fifth -- if the Knicks falter in free agency in the summer, Houston could end up with two very high picks in 2011 and 2012 in addition to their own 2012 pick.

    And really, this was to be expected: We already had ranked Houston second in management, and that's where they land once again, as they've checked all the boxes from top to bottom. Owner Les Alexander is willing to spend for a winner, GM Daryl Morey and his stat-savvy team have crafted several smart deals, and coach Rick Adelman remains among the game's best.

    The biggest issues going forward are uncertainty about Yao Ming's potential return and a less advantageous salary-cap position.

    (Previous rank: 13)

    11. Dallas Mavericks | Future Power Rating: 533

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    210 (14th) 144 (7th) 92 (13th) 70 (5th) 17 (27th)

    In the last edition of the Future Power Rankings, we noted, "The good news is that the Mavs have a dynamic, popular owner, and his management team has proved to be creative in handling the roster and the Mavs' perpetual lack of salary-cap space. And the franchise has some assets (including Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed contract) that we expect it to use aggressively."

    Those are exactly the qualities that shaped the Mavericks' trade for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood (in exchange for essentially expiring contracts) and permitted them to hang on to Dampier as a contributor for this season's title chase and a trade asset for next season's, opening their championship window a bit wider.

    While some speculate that Mark Cuban's most spectacular trick -- acquiring LeBron James or Chris Bosh via sign-and-trade for Dampier and Butler -- has yet to come, the Mavs' owner might have to settle for less miraculous maneuvers. And given that 22-year-old point guard Rodrigue Beaubois is the only youngster of note, while Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion will hit 32 this spring and Jason Kidd is almost 37, it seems inevitable that the Dallas decline will set in at some point in the next three seasons.

    The Mavs are on pace to win 50 games for an amazing 10th straight season. Can they keep the streak going for three more seasons? We doubt it, but we can't count them out.

    (Previous rank: 18)

    12. San Antonio Spurs | Future Power Rating: 532

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    154 (22nd) 179 (1st) 96 (11th) 64 (9th) 39 (20th)

    As noted in previous editions of the Future Power Rankings, San Antonio's strong suit is that it has been the league's model franchise for years. While the Spurs have slipped a bit between the lines, their top-rated front office should keep them in or near contention.

    Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aren't getting any younger (and Ginobili is a free agent to be), but they can still play, and the Spurs aren't devoid of young talent: Tony Parker is still just 27, George Hill is 23, DeJuan Blair is 20 and recent first-round draft pick Tiago Splitter is 24.

    The Spurs should have significant salary cap space in 2011, and they've shown their smarts in the past, both in talent evaluation and in financial prudence. If they continue in that vein, the future should remain bright.

    (Previous rank: 7)

    13. Atlanta Hawks | Future Power Rating: 516

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    258 (7th) 76 (20th) 92 (14th) 51 (16th) 39 (21st)

    With no major moves to speak of since the last time we checked in, the Hawks held steady in this edition of the Future Power Rankings.

    Atlanta has two powerful positives going forward -- 23-year-old frontcourt mates Josh Smith and Al Horford -- and some further potential in Marvin Williams and Jeff Teague. Atlanta also owns a valuable trade chip in the rights to Josh Childress.

    Beyond those assets, we have enough uncertainty to keep the Hawks out of the top 10. Star guard Joe Johnson could be a goner as a free agent this summer, and so may coach Mike Woodson. Ownership is another question mark, as it has yet to prove whether it will pay to keep a winning team together. And the rest of the cast members are at a point in their careers where their production should diminish.

    (Previous rank: 14)

    14. Los Angeles Clippers | Future Power Rating: 506

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    200 (15th) 52 (25th) 137 (5th) 59 (11th) 58 (15th)

    Though the Clippers have made some moves to improve their future, they dropped from their top-10 perch in our rankings. Los Angeles replaced coach Mike Dunleavy, but left him in the GM chair, where he sent out Al Thornton at the trade deadline and created enough salary cap room to position the Clips to bring in a marquee free agent.

    Unfortunately, there are several issues hurting the Clips' ranking.

    For one thing, they're not the only ones in pursuit of high-profile free agents -- at least seven teams should have enough space this summer to lure a free agent with a max contract. While the L.A. market works in the Clippers' favor, the reputation of owner Donald Sterling looms as a huge drawback that will likely require them to overpay to win the rights of a second-tier free agent -- and if Sterling can't overcome his reluctance to pay top dollar, the Clips might have difficulty finding quality players to take their offers.

    Also, the Clippers slipped several notches in our draft rating, as their sporadic success this season makes them increasingly unlikely to win the lottery again this year and a first-round pick from Minnesota likely won't be theirs until 2012, at which point the Wolves may be respectable.

    Finally, Blake Griffin's season-eliminating knee injury and Baron Davis's continued inconsistency has us less bullish on L.A.'s current roster than we were before, as the team appears to need a big score in free agency just to contend for a playoff spot.

    (Previous rank: 10)

    15. Boston Celtics | Future Power Rating: 494

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    170 (21st) 141 (10th) 93 (12th) 65 (8th) 25 (24th)

    In the present, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are keeping Boston among the East's elite, but age and injuries are, more and more, catching up with the Celtics. Of the team's famed Big Three, Garnett will be 34 when next season starts; Pierce will be 33; and Allen will be 35, presuming he returns.

    Boston's lack of action at the trade deadline, particularly its inability to move Allen's expiring contract for assets to carry the franchise forward, puts into serious question whether the Celtics will be able to stay near the top and keep their championship hopes alive in future seasons. The addition of spark plug Nate Robinson in place of Eddie House isn't a difference maker.

    Among the key players, only Rondo -- age 24, now an All-Star and probably the Celts' best player -- and Perkins (25) are young enough to build a bridge to the future. That's why the Celtics have a mediocre Future Power Rating despite being a storied franchise and still a contender with deep pockets and good management.

    (Previous rank: 12)

    16. New York Knicks | Future Power Rating: 491

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    108 (27th) 111 (13th) 194 (1st) 75 (4th) 3 (30th)

    The Knicks are still faltering on the court, but their trade-deadline moves helped them jump from No. 19 to No. 16 in the rankings.

    The Knicks dropped another $9.4 million under the cap for next season, meaning they now have a realistic shot at signing two of the top free agents in the summer. Now they stand No. 1 in the Money category and No. 4 in the Market category. Those rankings offset their awful roster, which is rated 27th.

    Unfortunately, to move up, the Knicks had to decimate its future draft status. By sending their 2012 first-round pick to Houston (top-five protected) along with the right to swap picks in 2011 (and their 2009 lottery pick, Jordan Hill), the Knicks put themselves dead last in the Draft category.

    (Previous rank: 19)

    17. Toronto Raptors | Future Power Rating: 489

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    214 (13th) 103 (16th) 90 (16th) 45 (18th) 37 (22nd)

    Raptors president Bryan Colangelo has to be sweating. His star forward, Chris Bosh, has the opportunity to explore the free-agent market in the summer, and it's anyone's guess where he'll end up.

    The Raptors have a winning record, and Bosh seems content, so that gives Toronto hope of keeping him. On the other hand, the Heat, Bulls, Knicks and Thunder are well positioned to lure Bosh back to the states.

    If Bosh stays, the Raptors' future looks about the same as the present: The team should fight for medium-to-low playoff seeding in the East. If Bosh leaves, the Raptors will move back into rebuilding mode.

    So keeping the Raptors in the middle of the pack -- where they've been in each edition of the Future Power Rankings -- seems prudent.

    (Previous rank: 16)

    18. New Jersey Nets | Future Power Rating: 488

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    116 (3rd) 76 (21st) 151 (4th) 52 (15th) 93 (1st)

    The Nets are the worst team in the league -- they're even historically bad. With the exception of Brook Lopez, most of their young talent isn't looking so talented right now. Everyone from Devin Harris to Yi Jianlian to Courtney Lee to rookie Terrence Williams has been disappointing.

    Their ineptitude has an upside, though. New Jersey, with a 25 percent chance, is favored to win the lottery for the No. 1 pick, expected to be John Wall, the best point guard prospect to come into the draft since Chris Paul in 2005. In other words, the Nets' talent base could improve very quickly.

    Off the court, things are looking up somewhat. The team has significant payroll flexibility moving forward, and after playing in Newark for at least a couple of seasons (starting in 2010-11), the Nets should get close to making their eventual move to Brooklyn, now that most of the legal and financial hurdles have been cleared. If and when billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov gets league approval to complete his acquisition of the Nets, he should provide an immediate infusion of both cash and cachet to one of the league's most woebegone franchises.

    (Previous rank: 17)

    19. Sacramento Kings | Future Power Rating: 469

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    174 (20th) 61 (24th) 136 (6th) 20 (28th) 78 (3rd)

    The Kings moved up from 22nd to 19th in this edition of the Future Power Rankings, but that may be a Pyrrhic victory. Sacramento still faces a number of challenges going forward, and one wonders whether it has the management in place to overcome them.

    First, the good news: The trade of Kevin Martin makes it possible for the Kings to rebuild quickly through the draft and free agency. The Kings have enough cap space to offer a maximum contract to a free agent and should have high picks in at least the next couple of drafts. Additionally, some building blocks are already in place: Tyreke Evans is the likely rookie of the year, while Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Spencer Hawes all should be long-term keepers.

    Now, the bad news: Sacramento isn't very good right now, and one wonders whether the right people are in charge from top to bottom to change that situation. Ownership is in a tight spot financially, as the Kings hemorrhage cash and the Maloof brothers' other businesses struggle. GM Geoff Petrie once ranked among the best but has inked a number of bad deals in recent years. And coach Paul Westphal's credentials as the man to lead this group have taken a hit, too. The fact that Evans has basically stopped playing defense is a major red flag, as was his recent bizarre deactivation of Hawes.

    (Previous rank: 22)

    20. Detroit Pistons | Future Power Rating: 468

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    148 (23rd) 123 (11th) 82 (24th) 44 (19th) 71 (8th)

    It's hard to find much good news in Detroit. After years of being a contender, the Pistons are struggling, and fans are no longer flocking to the Palace. And after their high hopes that Pistons president Joe Dumars would make a big trade at the deadline, Pistons fans didn't get anything.

    The Pistons have played better of late now that Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are finally healthy. But for the team to avoid a future full of mediocrity, it needs Dumars to find some big men to score and balance out the roster.

    (Previous rank: 15)

    21. Milwaukee Bucks | Future Power Rating: 455

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    180 (17th) 105 (14th) 86 (19th) 25 (26th) 59 (14th)

    The Bucks zoomed up to No. 20 for the last edition of the Future Power Rankings, and they remain a respectable No. 21 in this edition.

    The sensational play of 20-year-old rookie point guard Brandon Jennings was the impetus for Milwaukee's improvement in our rankings in December, and he remains a bright spot for the future. But although Jennings has cooled off significantly during the season, the Bucks have demonstrated they're more talented than expected.

    Former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut is having the best season of his career, and Ersan Ilyasova, just 22, has shown great promise. Plus the Bucks added John Salmons at the trade deadline to replace injured guard Michael Redd.

    Although Milwaukee doesn't look as if it will be a contender any time soon, it does look like a potential playoff team on the rise in the East. And in 2011, the Bucks should have significant salary-cap room to exploit.

    (Previous rank: 20)

    22. Philadelphia 76ers | Future Power Rating: 426

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    190 (16th) 81 (19th) 48 (28th) 37 (22nd) 70 (9th)

    Allen Iverson's return brought a temporary buzz to Philly, but that quickly faded. Then the 76ers were involved in talks at the trade deadline but didn't pull the trigger. Meanwhile, their young talent hasn't made significant strides this season. So the team we rated No. 19 and No. 21 in the first two editions of the Future Power Rankings seems adrift and now comes in at No. 22.

    The Sixers need Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Marreese Speights and their next draft pick to come on strong. Otherwise, the franchise will apparently be mired in its current position as a late lottery team until Elton Brand's contract expires in 2013.

    (Previous rank: 21)

    23. Memphis Grizzlies | Future Power Rating: 425

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    220 (11th) 44 (26th) 85 (20th) 11 (30th) 65 (11th)

    We like when teams are honest with themselves, even if it means admitting a blunder. So Memphis' decision to send Hasheem Thabeet to the D-League is, from this vantage point, a good sign. What isn't is that meddling owner Michael Heisley made the pick instead of general manager Chris Wallace, one of many examples where Heisley's interference yielded a negative outcome.

    Despite the owner's unsettling interest in personnel decisions, Memphis' management grade moved up from 29th to 26th. The Pau Gasol trade doesn't look nearly as bad as it did before, second-round pick Sam Young has helped and picking up Ronnie Brewer at the trade deadline looks like a good move.

    Unfortunately, the other indicators don't stack up well for Memphis. Their players ranked 11th, as the four-man nucleus of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol is impressive. But the Griz have money issues and may not pay to keep Gay, who will become a restricted free agent in the summer. If Gay leaves, enticing a replacement for him will be tough -- between the empty seats, small market and checkered track record, Memphis ranks dead last among NBA's markets.

    (Previous rank: 25)

    24. New Orleans Hornets | Future Power Rating: 415

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    220 (12th) 70 (23rd) 42 (29th) 32 (24th) 51 (16th)

    New Orleans has to be excited about the development of rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, especially because those two might let the team slither out of a salary-cap noose that otherwise would have it bleeding money next season.

    The small-market Hornets could find themselves more than $10 million over the luxury-tax line next season thanks to a series of awful contracts (Peja Stojakovic, Morris Peterson, James Posey), but if they can trade point guard sensation Collison -- who won't be needed once superstar Chris Paul comes back -- and/or Thornton and dump a couple of bad contracts in the process, they might be able to avoid the hit and protect the roster's core, particularly CP3.

    This team doesn't make a lot at the gate, doesn't have wealthy owners and is only a borderline playoff team as presently constructed. Paul is the league's best point guard, and one hopes the Hornets can get out of their financial quagmire without trading him.

    (Previous rank: 23)

    25. Phoenix Suns | Future Power Rating: 400

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    148 (24th) 71 (22nd) 84 (22nd) 69 (6th) 28 (23rd)

    The Suns have returned to their freewheeling style and are once again a factor in the West, with 36-year-old point guard Steve Nash still playing at a very high level and Amare Stoudemire still an All-Star. That said, we remain pessimistic about their long-term future.

    The core of the roster is aging, and Stoudemire and Channing Frye can leave as free agents as early as the summer. Youngsters Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic have showed improvement, but lottery pick Earl Clark has showed nothing. Furthermore, the Suns won't have a first-round draft pick this year, having given it up to the Thunder even before the team moved to Oklahoma City.

    The Suns remain a lot of fun to watch, but for how long can they really compete? Given the concerns about the future of the roster and our doubts about management's willingness and ability to spend the money necessary to get the Suns back to the top, we aren't optimistic.

    (Previous rank: 26)

    26. Indiana Pacers | Future Power Rating: 399

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    104 (28th) 82 (18th) 102 (10th) 36 (23rd) 75 (4th)

    The Pacers are having a terrible season and have slid significantly in our rankings from No. 20 in November to No. 26 now. That's because the team has Danny Granger and then lots of question marks, and even Granger hasn't lived up to his previous All-Star status.

    Second-year center Roy Hibbert and rookie Tyler Hansbrough have shown promise, although Hansbrough has been sidelined for six weeks with an inner ear infection and may miss the rest of the season. The team thought Troy Murphy or Jeff Foster would prove to be assets on the trade market but was unable to make a deal after Foster had season-ending surgery and Cleveland decided to acquire Antawn Jamison instead of Murphy.

    In our rankings, the bright notes for Pacers fans are that Indiana should have high draft picks this summer and beyond as well as plenty of cap space in 2011.

    (Previous rank: 24)


    27. Minnesota Timberwolves | Future Power Rating: 395

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    134 (25th) 42 (27th) 120 (9th) 12 (29th) 87 (2nd)

    Well, at least there's the draft. Minnesota will have the second-best chance at winning the lottery in June and also should own picks from Utah and Charlotte. Although the Timberwolves eventually owe a pick to the Clippers from the disastrous Marko Jaric trade, they may not have to pay up for several more years. Only New Jersey's position is stronger on that front.

    As for everything else ... ugh. Not much has changed for the Timberwolves since our last update. Although wingman Corey Brewer has showed he'll be a solid player going forward, the frontcourt combination of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love looks unworkable, and guards Jonny Flynn and Wayne Ellington have taken their lumps. With the uncertainty over Ricky Rubio's future and the head-scratching deadline deal for Darko Milicic, we're still not sure Minnesota's headed in the right direction.

    (Previous rank: 28)

    28. Golden State Warriors | Future Power Rating: 364

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    176 (18th) 2 (30th) 83 (23rd) 30 (25th) 73 (7th)

    Golden State has plenty of young assets, but it continues to languish near the bottom of the Western Conference standings and the bottom of our rankings because of a management team -- from ownership to the front office to the bench -- that has made the Warriors the league's laughingstocks.

    There is talk that the team could have new ownership in the foreseeable future. If so, and if the new ownership cleans out the current management, the Warriors should move up the rankings quickly. Plenty of teams would like to have young players as talented as Monta Ellis, Anthony Randolph, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Morrow, Brandan Wright and rookie of the year candidate Stephen Curry.

    (Previous rank: 29)

    29. Washington Wizards | Future Power Rating: 322

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    30 (30th) 40 (28th) 132 (7th) 46 (17th) 74 (6th)

    The Wizards traded out of one bad situation and into another at the trade deadline. They jettisoned Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison to prepare for the future, but the result is the league's worst roster. Gilbert Arenas is the only marquee player left, but he has a questionable knee, a massive contract and a frayed relationship with the team and public after his gun incident.

    The transition to new ownership, likely Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, is another question mark. It's unclear whether he'll keep bumbling GM Ernie Grunfeld, who at this point must be wondering what he has to do to get himself fired, but pending some positive signs on that front, the Wizards are ranked just 28th in management. And although Washington will have cap space to pursue a maximum-salaried free agent, it's not a top-tier basketball market, and the team has so many questions that it's unlikely to lure a star anyway.

    All told, we're at the start of a long rebuilding process for Washington, which is why only Charlotte has a gloomier outlook in our rankings.

    (Previous rank: 27)

    30. Charlotte Bobcats | Future Power Rating: 212

    PLAYERS MANAGEMENT MONEY MARKET DRAFT
    74 (29th) 37 (29th) 35 (30th) 25 (27th) 41 (19th)

    Will the Bobcats under Michael Jordan be any different than they have been under Robert Johnson? We have our doubts. Jordan is already an absentee part-owner and the head of basketball operations, and it's unclear how much financial strength his new ownership group will bring to the table.

    So, despite the excitement over MJ's acquisition and a potential first-ever playoff berth, the Bobcats still rank at the bottom in our Future Power Rankings. Although the team on the court has been decent this season, there's little reason for optimism going forward. Tyrus Thomas is the only young player of note, and he's already in his fourth season. The other top players, especially Stephen Jackson, are at the point where they should begin declining steadily.

    Good luck bringing in more help. The Bobcats have traded two future first-round picks, and if they re-sign Thomas, they'll have no cap space in either of the next two summers. Plus, they have serious-enough luxury-tax issues that they're likely to lose guard Raymond Felton as an unrestricted free agent and be unable to use their midlevel exception in the summer. Management is a huge question mark, too -- it appears impulsive coach Larry Brown is calling many of the shots, and his track record says that's seriously dangerous.

    (Previous rank: 30)
    "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

    -Lance Stephenson

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  5. #4
    All hail King George! KnicksRGarbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Thanks for posting, but I can't believe that those writers get paid as much as they do.
    My thoughts about this article go something like this..
    Please, tell me something I didn't know.
    Coach Vogel on the Chicago crowd in game 4 : "I only heard pacers fans. I didn't see any red, I saw Pacers fans I saw yellow and blue, and I heard Pacers chants. That's all I heard the whole game."

    http://www.cacawebdev.com

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    Tyrant maragin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Our concern over our coach has distracted many of us from how bad our roster really is. The future doesn't look bright.

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  8. #6
    We need John Wall. Thesterovic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Roy, Hans, Rush, AJ, Josh, Danny 2 top 5 picks (I think and hope) and Dahntay plus about $40m dollars in cap room isn't that bad. Its no worldbeater, but some nice things could come out of this.
    "I keep wondering the same thing. Last week they had the 4th worst record in the league, had an 11.9 percent chance of winning the lottery and were in line to land a franchise type player like Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins. This week? They have a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, have the 8th worst record and are in line to draft Cole Aldrich or Greg Monroe. Way to go Jim O'Brien. Rest Danny Granger the rest of the season (if it isn't too late) and give Josh McRoberts lots of minutes. That ought to do it." - Chad Ford on winning meaningless games

    Way to go Jim, you may have just put our franchise back another 4+ years.

  9. #7
    I'm on a MAC! graphic-er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Quote Originally Posted by Thesterovic View Post
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    Roy, Hans, Rush, AJ, Josh, Danny 2 top 5 picks (I think and hope) and Dahntay plus about $40m dollars in cap room isn't that bad. Its no worldbeater, but some nice things could come out of this.
    Cap is going down over the next 2 years so it will really be around 25 million in cap space.

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Quote Originally Posted by graphic-er View Post
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    Cap is going down over the next 2 years so it will really be around 25 million in cap space.
    A fifteen million dollar difference? Really?

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    I'm on a MAC! graphic-er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    A fifteen million dollar difference? Really?
    Pacers need to shed around 8 million by next year to avoid LT. So that is half of it right there. The current cap is around 65 million, I've heard future cap estimates as low as 50 milliion.

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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Quote Originally Posted by graphic-er View Post
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    Pacers need to shed around 8 million by next year to avoid LT. So that is half of it right there. The current cap is around 65 million, I've heard future cap estimates as low as 50 milliion.
    I don't have the exact number in front of me, but I'm not sure the cap is even close to 65mm right now. That sounds more like the luxury tax than the cap.

    And how does shedding 8 million give us less cap space later?

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    All hail King George! KnicksRGarbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    NBA salary cap this season- $57.7 million
    NBA luxury tax this season- $69.92 million
    Coach Vogel on the Chicago crowd in game 4 : "I only heard pacers fans. I didn't see any red, I saw Pacers fans I saw yellow and blue, and I heard Pacers chants. That's all I heard the whole game."

    http://www.cacawebdev.com

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    All hail King George! KnicksRGarbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    NBA projected salary cap for NEXT season- $50.4 million-53.6 million
    NBA projected luxury tax for NEXT season- $61.2 million-$65 million

    The difference in the numbers is due to the variable decrease in "Basketball related income" in the league next year. Obviously no one can correctly project the decrease in BIR, hence the difference in numbers.
    Last edited by KnicksRGarbage; 03-03-2010 at 12:10 AM. Reason: poor wording
    Coach Vogel on the Chicago crowd in game 4 : "I only heard pacers fans. I didn't see any red, I saw Pacers fans I saw yellow and blue, and I heard Pacers chants. That's all I heard the whole game."

    http://www.cacawebdev.com

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    I'm on a MAC! graphic-er's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    I don't have the exact number in front of me, but I'm not sure the cap is even close to 65mm right now. That sounds more like the luxury tax than the cap.

    And how does shedding 8 million give us less cap space later?

    Because the 40 million that is coming off the books after next season does not equal 40 million in cap space. Since the cap will going down over the next 2 seaons. Wasn't that the main reason to trade Troy or TJ this season, to get an expiring that will get us below the cap for next year? I thought we all have talked this to death already.

    So lets say we have roughly 30 mil in cap space in 2011?

  16. #14
    All hail King George! KnicksRGarbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    If we dont re-sign any of our expirings in 2011 (Troy, Mike, Ford, Foster, Solo, and Mcbob is we pick up his 10-11 option) our team salary will be at $15.6 million.
    I would say $30-$40 million in cap space is a reasonable guess.
    Last edited by KnicksRGarbage; 03-03-2010 at 12:20 AM.
    Coach Vogel on the Chicago crowd in game 4 : "I only heard pacers fans. I didn't see any red, I saw Pacers fans I saw yellow and blue, and I heard Pacers chants. That's all I heard the whole game."

    http://www.cacawebdev.com

  17. #15
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Could someone with ESPN insider post this article

    Out roster is really horrible. Although I think with two good draft picks (one this year and one next) a couple of smart trades, and 1 or 2 good free agent signings the pacers can be in very good position two short years from now. The right moves have to be made though.

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