There's no more speculative feature on ESPN.com than Chad Ford and John Hollinger's future power rankings. The two try to place a value on "the on-court success expected for each team" through 2013-14.
It's out again and again, the Nets are ranked in the middle of the pack...12th to be precise, the same as last December and up only one place since the first ranking in November 2009. Such a small change in the Nets' prospects seems a bit strange considering the upgrades in roster and ownership since 2009, not to mention arena construction progress.
Ford and Hollinger note "the big asterisk", whether Deron Williams will re-sign with the Nets.
If he doesn't, it will be "catastrophic", they write. But it's kind of weird for them to rank the Nets second to the Pacers in "money" simply because the Pacers have more cap space. The ranking is supposed to be based on "projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax." After all the Pacers are near-bankrupt and Mikhail Prokhorov is the richest man in sports, unless you count the owner of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier Cricket League.
ESPN's NBA Future Power Rankings - Chad Ford and John Hollinger - ESPN Insider