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ESPN: Sean Marks moving Nets out of “Future” basement

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Been down so long, looks like up to us.

We’re talking about the ESPN Future Power Rankings. After being 30th (and last) in the last three iterations, the Nets are 29th in the Chad Ford - Kevin Pelton ratings, which try to determine how teams will do over the next three years.

The big reasons for the Nets upward movement: Sean Marks and his cap space slashing. Ford and Pelton now rank Brooklyn at No. 25, up five places; and cap space, where they’re now No. 1.

Here’s the Ford - Pelton assessment...

Hello, Brooklyn. After three straight editions where the Nets finished dead last, they've moved out of the basement.

They still rank No. 30 in the roster category and are bottom five for the draft. However, there are rays of hope.

Watching new GM Sean Marks put together a Spurs-esque front office has upped the management score, and the Nets' frugality this summer puts them in a position to lead the market in cap space the next three years.

Given the desirability of the market and the new front office approach, they might start actually luring players soon.

Replacing the Nets in the basement: the Kings.

The most intriguing piece of the analysis is that the Nets may have the most cap space over the next three years. It’s been a subtle part of the Nets rebuild, but it’s significant. The Nets have only one player —Jeremy Lin— under contract beyond 2017-18 and he’s got a player option for that third year. Of the team’s 15 guaranteed deals, seven are on either a one-year-deal, an expiring deal or a two-year deal with a team option on the second year.

And while the Nets trumpeted the acquisition of Caris LeVert in their Draft Day trade, the deal that sent Thaddeus Young to Indiana had a significant effect on the Nets cap space. Over the next three years, the Nets will save $12.6 million, $13.4 million and $12.3 million (options depending).

One thing that we would have to disagree with. ESPN ranks Brooklyn as the sixth best market behind the Knicks, Lakers, Heat, Clippers and Golden State. No.