Nets No. 19 in Future Power Rankings

The Nets came in 19th in ESPN's currently and Future Power Rankings (Insider Only).

Writes Amin Elhassan:

In theory, the collective bargaining agreement was designed to protect the owners from themselves by enforcing strict punitive measures to discourage teams from spending recklessly. Let the Brooklyn Nets stand as a shining example that there are exceptions to every theory.

Fueled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov's unlimited coffers, the Nets set out to spend their way into title contention now by mortgaging much of their future to acquire aging Celtics starsKevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (as well as veteran scoring guard Jason Terry). The result: a payroll of $102 million and an estimated tax bill north of $80 million. That's not a typo: When all is said and done, the Nets might be paying more in luxury taxes than 28 out of the 30 teams in the league are paying in payroll.

But to focus on the gaudy spending misses the real harm in what the Nets achieved: In order to acquire the high-priced veterans who make up their roster, they've repeatedly traded away first-round draft choices with no protections and given away pick swaps, effectively paying tomorrow for the sins of today. And while they have improved in the very short term (this season), they still aren't better than the Heat, Bulls or Pacers, and unlike these rivals, there is no long-term play with the current roster in Brooklyn.

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