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A Heat(related) Tid-bit or Three

If you're following the free agency saga of point guard Jason Williams, here's an update.

Amid an ESPN report that J-Will is in serious discussions with Israeli-league team Tel Aviv, just received confirmation that there is indeed interest, but that a deal is not imminent.

In fact, we've been told by two sources that J-Will essentially remains in a holding pattern with a couple of potential suitors. A few days ago, we were told not to completely rule out a possible return to the Heat at a deeply, deeply, deeply discounted rate from the $8.9 million he earned last season.

If Heat president Pat Riley is even interested in a reunion (count me among those who figured J-Will's days in Miami were numbered after the "high-paid prostitutes" comment he made on Christmas Day in Cleveland), it would most likely happen in the range of $1.3 to $2 million.

But word out of Israel from at least one source familiar with Tel Aviv's negotiations is that Williams is seeking a deal with an annual salary of at least $3 million. The Israeli teams is thinking closer to $1.5, which is similar to any deal any NBA suitor might extend, including the Heat.

... For those in need of an update on potential low-level center prospects, here's one.

The Clippers, whose roster seems to be at about 43 players right now, inked Brian Skinner to add low-post depth. The Heat had at least modest interest in Skinner at one point to plug into a frontcourt that lacks both length and defensive prowess beyond undersized power forward Udonis Haslem (I'm not counting Zo here because there's still no telling when he might return from knee rehab).

The Heat also expressed at least some interest in Francisco Elson, a 7-footer who played in Seattle last season but did his best work with the Spurs during their 2006-07 title run. But Elson's camp said it would take more than the $900,000 Miami has left of the mid-level and probably even more than the mostly-league-funded veteran's minimum of $1.3 the Heat also would have at its disposal.

So the pursuit of help at center and point guard stands as it always stood for the Heat. It's going to take a trade to add the type of upgrades needed to assure a return to serious contender status next season. As the roster stands, Miami is a playoff team if healthy. Although a run at mediocrity would be an upgrade over last season's disastrous 15-67 finish, far better results are expected.

... After news that the Heat's Oct. 12 preseason game in London against the Nets has sold out, tickets for Miami's scheduled Oct. 18 preseason game against the Magic in Jacksonville have gone on sale. The Jacksonville game extends a solid run of non-NBA sites the Heat has played at the past few seasons, including Puerto Rico, Biloxi, MS and Greensboro, N.C.

Comments

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Here we go again...Riley lets another FA get away from him. Sure Skinner isnt the best answer for our much needed post presence, but it only gets worse from here on out in the Free Agent Market. Francisco Elson is our next option at center? Jeesh, might as well stay with Blount and hope for the best. Riles, I believe it's time for a trade.

i'm starting to think we are gonna run this season with the squad we've got now. when we are trying to decide between Brian Skinner or Francisco Elson, free agency is officially over.
i'll give riles props for adding shawn marion, mike beasley, and james jones to last year's pitiful squad. extra props for getting rid of shaq and ricky "human ebola virus" davis. a huge upgrade over last season, but we are still not a legit playoff team if we have no center and no point guard.

Let Haslem play center, and give Banks and Chalmer a chance with the point.

Thanks for the post especially with such little to work with. You're getting us through this loooong offseason!

How about shawn marion and haslem for lamarcus aldridge and draft pick. Portland has Oden coming back to be their franchise center. I can't see them putting a twenty and ten guy in aldridge on the bench for long, plus they need veteran help. We get our franchise center, they get good veteran help. We role the PGs we have now and let chalmers develope, besides wade has the ball in his hands majority of the time anyways, so really we need a point who can defend his position and drop threes when open.

D.Angelo i agree, but I'd rather give them
Marion, Blount, and a 2nd round pick for Aldrige. Blount could backup Oden better
than Haslem. But I don't think Portland would do either trade, unfortunately.

Banks/Chalmers/Quinn is fine at PG. let it play out-Quinn keeps improving, Chalmers may be the answer after half a season-ing, and give Banks a chance. he can hit the 3 and defend. That'll do for starters.

Dribbler i agree with you as well, except haslem has more trade value than blount. But maybe including all three would be the most enticing. Not sure how the money part would work out though. But i definately see a future problem for portland when oden is healthy. They may bite if the deal is right.

I agree with ebag that I think we will ride the season (at least until the trade deadline) with our current roster intact. However, I had the same thoughts about Portland and Aldridge as some have posted. A trade that would work under the salary cap would be: Aldridge and LaFrentz (who has 1 year and $12M left on his deal) for Marion. Now you can throw a pick in there or a player or bring in a 3rd team, but its blatently obvious that Portland needs a small forward. I couldn't see a better fit if I'm Portland. They are getting a defensive minded small forward who can average 15 points while not taking a whole lot of shots, leaving the bulk of the shots available for all their other young studs. They also still have Oden and Frye to man the paint so I think it works. And the heat get their center (in the east he can play center), plus $12M comes off the books next year with LaFrentz's deal, which we can use to add a very good player. So in the end, the trade would be Marion for Aldridge and whatever free agent we bring in....sounds damn good to me...

On another note, is there any team more stacked with good young talent than the Blazers? Good lord, they're loaded. I know that they've had high draft picks for a number of years, but so have the Bulls and many other teams. The Blazers have hit on every pick! Share the wealth Portland!!

I also forgot to mention that the Bulls finally signing Deng means that Portland can't sit back and wait for him to come available next summer...

Why do people keep saying we have no point guard. Obviously no one knows much about Mario Chalmers. He is a beast. He is definitely the steal of the draft. He can play excellent D, he can run the ball and shot from almost anywhere. His a great 3 point shooter. Just look at what he did in the championship game and what he did in the summer league. As for the center position, we badly need to upgrade. Hopefully Riles can pull some strings and get Brad Miller but I would not trade Marion for him. If not we should just play it out and wait until next off season and see what big man we can get of F.A.

Castro, a man named Earl Barron once TORE UP summer leagues too. Also see Marcus Banks as a man who ruled the summer league world before. The italian guy from the warriors even averaged 23 a game last in those. They are meaningless. Chalmers could be very good. But hes a rookie and an unknown commodity.

DA, Haslem may have more trade value but
not to Portland. they have PF's. with Aldridge gone Blount is better backup for
Oden in the West, which has bigger C's

If only somebody could motivate Blount
to play as well as he did in his last
contract year--he was great. so he probably
will play great next year but if they could only get somebody to make him give the effort on both ends THIS year--then we will have best possible Center for 2 years!! Maybe Zo threatens to break his
neck?

DA, Haslem may have more trade value but
not to Portland. they have PF's. with Aldridge gone Blount is better backup for
Oden in the West, which has bigger C's

If only somebody could motivate Blount
to play as well as he did in his last
contract year--he was great. so he probably
will play great next year but if they could only get somebody to make him give the effort on both ends THIS year--then we will have best possible Center for 2 years!! Maybe Zo threatens to break his
neck?

hey heat fans i think we should pick up stephon marbury i like him alot we need more scoring on this team!!! what do you think ?

Guys please! No more talk of Aldridge for Marion... You guys are grossly underestimating what Marion brings to a team. Not only does he fill the stat sheet like the superstar he is, he's also one of those rare players that delivers the intangibles. He demonstrates enduring energy and relentless hustle. He can defend guards as well as forwards with high energy and tenacity. And, I've never seen him give up on an opportunity to run the floor.

Aldridge is a talented, young player with a wonderful career ahead of him in a league that doesn't have a lot of people whom can command the middle, however, trading Marion for him is too high a price to pay. And, giving up Marion and Haslem would be an even more problematic proposition.

Please take stock of what Haslem and Marion bring to our team in terms of defense, toughness, and tremendous work ethic. You're not giving these guys the credit they deserve. And, this isn't me being overly sentimental. I'm all for putting together a winning team. Simply put, Marion and Haslem are of a personality and mentality that you need on a championship team. Getting rid of them without getting a significant return value is going to set the Heat back. You'll never see trades like the ones that are being suggested because Riley knows the exceeding value of these players.

Brian has a point. Those guys play hard without the ball. Marion and Haslem are solid defenders and hustlers who should be kept around. I'm all for trading Marion if we can get Nocioni and Hinrich, but beyond that i'm not sure i would like to see him traded. Hes going to be a big cog this year.

Well put Brian.

I think we just stick with what we got, and if it looks like we are able to make a run at the title we make a few moves before the trade deadline to get some short term, veteran help for off the bench later down the line.

There are no good options left out there for FA or for any realistic trades that don't require shaking up our whole team. We don't want to just sign some veteran early on and give him a lot of minutes throughout the season, he'd be little help for us by playoff team.

Look if we can't make a top 4 seed with the lineup (healthy) that we have now then somethings a lot more wrong then just needing to add a player or two. Thats why we just sit back and wait, let theses guys play, and see mid-season whats the biggest problem that might keep us from getting the title back.

i can't buy into that Marion must
stay even if he's great for our team. if we have a good year then he'll
want a huge long-term contract we can't
afford and the year after this, when we might be in the mix for finals-- we'll have lost a key player and be set back again.
and whoever we get to replace him could have been meshing with the team this year
and be ready the next year for the big push. Haslem must stay--Marion must go.

Aldridge sounds like best option, Brad
Miller plus another piece 2nd best.
or else commit to Blount because the year
after this he will play great..then the challenge is to get him to give at least
75% of that effort this year too.
If we can do that, then we can trade Marion for best talent available without
worrying about center.

Aldridge for Marion would create more holes than it would fill. Consider the individual players relative to our team. Let's run through the hypothetical trade... In getting Aldridge, you've just traded for a guy (and I don't mean any of this to sound negative toward Aldridge whom I think is a great young player)... Anyway, in getting Aldridge, you've just traded for a guy that is a truer power forward than a center. So while he can play more than serviceably in the middle, having him instead of Marion actually creates more problems for you against the elite teams in the league. It actually makes you much less deep defensively. For example, we're still going to face a challenge against teams with power centers like Duncan, Yao, Kaman, Bynum. Not only that, we are now going to have a whole slew of problems with quicker teams. Marion can defend point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, as well as certain power forwards. Having a player with the nickname "Matrix" has its benefits... he does so many things well and, as such, affords us a lot of flexibility. So, if your true goal is a championship, you've actually taken a step back... you've hurt your ability to guard true centers as well as the superior guard/small forward combinations on the elite teams in the league. You've actually spread your team more thin defensively and annihilated any depth that existed at guard since you'll need Jones or Wright to start to have a defensive presence against many teams that have a quick PG/guard or guard/small forward combination. Plus, while Aldridge runs the floor very well for a big, you've also detracted from one of Wade's superstar strengths as one of the quickest guys in the league by taking away a guy in Marion that complements the running game enormously.

In terms of finding a center, barring any blockbuster trade that entails one of the elite centers, I'm sure the goal of the Heat will be to get a strong defensive, complementary player that can defend the middle and block shots. Although this is complete conjecture, I like some of New Jersey's guys... Stromile Swift I believe has great talent although I wonder why it has never been realized with him winning a major role for any extended period with any of his teams. So there are some question with Swift. Also, New Jersey's Sean Williams I find to be a very interesting player. He's an outstanding shot blocker and seemingly tough defender. I don't know either player's status so forgive me for possibly suggesting fantastical options. (Although New Jersey drafted a big in Brook Lopez, it looks like they might lose Krstic... so, perhaps Williams isn't as available as I'd like him to be.)

All and all, I'm very excited to watch our Heat play this season. I'm excited to see us run a small rotation often, with Haslem sliding into the center position. (By the way, kudos to Haslem whom also has incredible defensive flexibility and strength in being able to provide serviceable defense against the league's toughest centers.) Furthermore, I'm excited about the athleticism that we'll be manning on the floor. I'm also excited about Beasely's tremendous skills. I love that he is a natural lefty whom can use both hands to shoot around the basket. I can't say the last time I've noticed a player that uses both hands so adeptly to score - its a fantastic skill that he possesses which will make him a challenge to defend. Of course, a great hope is for everybody to remain healthy. That withstanding, I think this ball club will be a lot of fun to watch. And, I think other guys are going to step up in unexpectedly nice ways as well.

There are plenty of "what if" scenarios. In the end, we are fortunate to have a basketball genius like Riley supporting the team's development. I have every confidence in his management. We have an impressive organization all around - owner, managers, and coaches. They'll make the right moves to put together the best team possible.

Oh... I forgot to mention that we'd also lose some of our ability to spread the floor... remember, Marion can drain the three ball as well. Marion further serves as a complement to Wade in this capacity, supporting opportunities for him to penetrate against a more spread defense.

Brian i hear what you are saying. I love marion and haslem's game as much as the next heat fan. But Marion has one year left on his contract which means we sign him to lucrative deal, trade him, or let him walk and get nothing in return. If we resign him there goes going after one of those big name 2010 FA. Letting him walk for nothing is not wise to say the least. so a trade must be made. As for haslem i see all those intangibles in joel anthony as well and he is cheaper and younger. Aldridge is going into his third year, he is 6'11, 240, has a 18ft jumper, runs the floor and could develope into the next KG. That trade frees up lots of money for 2010, gets us our big man, and remember dwight howard is only 6'11 also, and puts us in position to be a good young team for a long time. Sounds like a deal worth going after to me.

Guys try to look ahead alittle. this is not a championship team right now with what we have. And even if make a good run at it, i am looking for a dynasty in miami. I see lottery again next year to fill a void, and big money for free agency in 2010. Looks like instant dynasty to me if we play our cards right. I see celtics, detroit, san antonio, all these power house teams getting older while we get younger,and more talented.

I really worry about our attitude heading into FA for 2010. If we let things pass us by due to looking towards 2010 we could miss out. What if we don't sign marion, wait for 2010 and everyone resigns with their own teams. (all these guys can make more money by just staying where they are). I like Marion enough to forfeit the idea of trying to add PLAYER X in 2010. Beasly/Marion/Wade with chalmers maturing into a big role and a lucky pickup of a strong defensive big man and some bench depth i think could get it done. Also, I don't like the idea of using Haslem at center for any real period of time, I LOVE Udonis, but banging around with dudes 80 pounds heavier and 3-4 inches taller is going to shave YEARS off his career, you guys remember Brian Grant right? Those years with the Lakers he could barely WALK. We need to pick up Elson to backup Joel Anthony. Blount is a pathetic waste of space and should take a warm seat at the end of the bench. His terrible attitude and tissue soft defense was the embodiment of everything wrong with the Heat last year. Those are just my opinions though. Except the Haslem at center part, thats a fact.

Brian makes a good point, that trading a great small forward for an average center will only make our team worse. I understand the desire to trade marion or haslem, seeing that we have a logjam of undersized power forwards. i just don't see us getting close to equal value for either player.

udonis is a role player, a tough power forward that will rebound, defend, and dive after loose balls. every team needs a player like that. but nobody is going to trade a superstar for a role player, and if we trade udonis, then we are gonna need to find someone else to do all those little things. we need a scrappper. lets keep the one we've got. he gets along with our superstar (d-wade), is a team player, and is a local. he is a perfect fit in miami.

shawn marion is an all-star in a contract year. he is gonna ball this year. portland is a well built young team of good character guys. i don't see them breaking up their team to bring in a moody vet who will demand touches. it will slow the development of their young guys, and hurt their overall chemistry. i just don't see them going for it. actually, i don't see any team trading anything good for a moody superstar with an expiring contract.

i think the only way we make a trade involving s.marion would be midseason. there are ten or eleven solid teams in the west, and only eight playoff spots. riles is probably waiting for one of those guys to get desperate. i can see dallas falling out of the top 8, then making another desperation trade. my favorite trade that will probably never happen is s.marion for jason terry, josh howard, and a warm-bodied center. makes sense for both teams.

until then, udonis will probably be our undersized center with blount and zo to back him up and add size. we need to pick up another pg. I like chalmers and quinn, but neither one of them is ready to be a starter for a playoff team.

here is our 9-man rotation, as i see it:

c - udonis, blount, zo
f - beasley, marion, udonis,
g - wade, jones, d. cook, chalmers/quinn

maybe a playoff team. not a championship contender.

why not trade Marian to Portland for Aldridge and Lafrentz straight up and the trade Blount and draft pick for Shane Battie from Houston since they have Artest and Houston needs a back up center with Mutumbo ageing

if Marion has a very good year with us,
he will, at 31 then, demand a long-term
lucrative contract..not what we want even if we don't land a superstar. and he may get that from another team and be gone, or
stay with us and get older, slower, and more moody and clog our cap. it may be better to wait for mid-season to get enough of value for him--but he's got to go. Pat should be working his options now--and i'm sure he's doing just that. Haslem, on the other hand, should stay.

Blount has a history of only putting out
effort in his contract year. so that's next year, and he will play as good or better than any of the journeymen now available. He may not give that kind of effort this year, but he will give more than last year because he will have the incentive of being a year closer to his contract and nobody will want him if he
only tries for one year. Besides, he will
be part of a winning team, and that gives
him more incentive than playing with D-leaguers and tankers like last year.

Blount has a history of blowing dudes and rebounding like my little sister. If he were a FA this year he'd be behind Kwame Brown and Elson.

Heat should look into picking up Nick Fazekas. He's a solid PF/C (6'11" 260lbs) with enough tenacity to rebound and score garbage buckets. He's an unrestricted FA now that the Coupon Clippers have relinquished his qualifying offer. At the very least, he is cheap, Young (24) and will provide instant depth to the Center Position. He can take Barron's role and add youth/talent to the team.

KenB, check Blount's stats for his last
contract year! outstanding. and according to some Celtics fans on the Sun-Sentinel
blog, he played D and rebounded that year.
It's not that he can't do those things, it's just that he's lazy and prefers to just play offense. but he won't stay in
league unless he has another good contract
year and even that's not enough..nobody
will buy him unless he plays decently this year as well.

I agree with what you're saying about Marion, Brian, but I think you are assuming that we are planning to extend him after this season at age 31, which I don't see happening.

While I don't like throwing the "what-ifs" out there as much as you do, I was merely speculating since I feel if we keep Marion, we will lose him for nothing. On the current roster, Marion is clearly your most tradeable asset (besides wade who I obviously consider untradeable). I brought up the Portland scenario because it just makes too much sense for both teams. They need a versatile SF, and we need someone that can work the paint. Plus we still have the cap space next year to add another player.

You're worried about Aldridge playing center at 6'11, 250 lbs? He averaged 18 pts and 8 rebounds a game last year, and he's only 21 and getting better. That to me is significantly more than "servicable", that's damn good. He fits the up-tempo type of offense that we are trying to implement this year perfectly (I know Marion does too, but again, I'm working on the notion that we will lose him after this year). And in today's NBA, there are very few "true" centers.

I love Marion, but I just don't see us keeping him around after this year. Players who rely mainly on their athleticism tend to have a rapid decline after the age of 30.

Again, all this is "what-if", but I'd just hate to see us lose Marion for nothing but cap space. That said, I have complete faith in Riley and his staff and know that they'll do what's best.

HeatFan,
while Riley has made some great moves and
done some terrific things for the Heat--
and no GM is without mistakes--Riles has also made some TERRIBLE decisions:

-killing the chemistry of the Mason/Grant
team by bringing back Zo as first option
at end of season and quit exit in playoffs-
instead of working him back in as a sub.

-burning out players in short rotations

-passing on Jameer Nelson for Dorrel

-ruining playoff of 07 team by forcing
an injured Wade to carry load--4 and out.

-bringing back Wade last year instead of
letting him have max rehab.

-letting Posey go, getting Smush etc.

Dribbler,

I agree that no GM is without fault, especially Riley. I mean, look at the contract he gave Antoine Walker, that was ridiculous. In the same light, we won a title with him running the show. No GM is perfect, but not all can say when that when they did it right, they won a championship. The NBA is the most difficult league to win a championship, so the fact that we got one gives me confidence in Riles and his crew.

We also have to keep in mind that the Heat needs to keep Wade happy, so you know they're working extra hard to try to turn this around as quickly as possible.

I also like to be optomistic, and throwing scenarios around like this to me are fun and make the offseason move quicker and get me excited for the season...

Riley is capable of getting us back, i have no doubt--but to say he always knows
best and put blind faith in him--NOT!

I'm thrilled seeing Wade in such great
shape now..but i'm also wary. his style
depends on attracting contact inside to
get to the line: a recipe for injury--
or at very least wearing out.

if he's serious about not wanting to be
the point guard he's got to defer the
ball-handling to others more--not just
have the pg bring up the ball for him.

we don't have a DWill or CP3, but hopefully playing with them as 6th man will inspire him to learn to be a scorer
without having the ball all the time.

all of you have good points,but we have to make a trade. eddie curry could be are center this season adding david lee in the trade sending blount,cook and second round pick to new york. now we know marion is great, but thats why we should trade him. i mean, he will want to much to re-up so why not trade him.carmelo sounds real good for marion or even butler and blatch and a pick. i think chalmers can end up being the steal of the draft and the long term fix at point. but lets not forget in this league you dont win without having bigs who can bang. we need to make a trade, now running teams do look good but we still lack that pop. we have value make some moves. black the trucker,will keep in touch.

Eddy Curry is a fat slow footed loser who rebounds and defends like a figure skater. I think i might actually like Blount better than Curry. I'm not sure though. Blount and Cook for Curry isn't a bad idea though. We don't lose much. I wonder if NY would even consider that? If we get Butler, we have another slasher into the paint who can't shoot the 3 like wade. I'd like to see us get a little more for him. That and i do not think Wizards would do it. Also, the Nuggets will never trade Mellow. Even if we offered that they would probably laugh at us and pee in our face. I believe the key might be moving Haslem. I like him but a 6 mil. a year bench player is something we can't afford with all the holes we have. And Beas is most certainly NOT quick enough to guard ANY 3 in the league. he HAS to be a PF. Maybe Haslem for Felton?

RAD idea: trade Marion,put Wade at the 3 !!!
half his time at the 2, half at the 3, depending on matchups. Jones/Wright the other half at the 3. Wright can also play
backup 4. Joel at C, Blount for offense.
the way Wade is playing with TA shows how
he would be spectacular not handling the
ball so much. cut his TO's down, save his
body. need a real point guard for this idea, so marion needs to bring a quality
point guard plus a mediocre big backup.

This is some of what i don't understand. When you play guys out of position, such as Haslem at 4, or Wade at 3, they end up guarding guys 2-5 inches taller and 20-60 pounds heavier. Thats a beating. Thats years off a players career. Thats a mismatch for the other team to have an advantage every night. SOME players can excel in those circumstances, Marion at the 4 for instance. But that is a total exception to the rule. Wade is already injury prone. We don't need him getting posted up and beaten by bruising 3's or being plain old shot over the top by taller Rashard Lewis types. I really think we need to focus on a D minded 5 or any starting calibur PG we can get at this point.

KenB,
i understand your concern but Wade is always going inside with contact from the real bigs, not just bigger 3's. there are many smaller 3's he could defend, that's why i say 2 or 3 based on matchups. on the flip side, what 3's can stay with him?
he should be able to get as free as he wants to until he's doubled. worth a try.
and i think you meant haslem at the 5..he is a natural 4.

KenB,
i understand your concern but Wade is always going inside with contact from the real bigs, not just bigger 3's. there are many smaller 3's he could defend, that's why i say 2 or 3 based on matchups. on the flip side, what 3's can stay with him?
he should be able to get as free as he wants to until he's doubled. worth a try.
and i think you meant haslem at the 5..he is a natural 4.

Good call, i meant haslem at the 5. I guess maybe Wade could spend time at the 3. It all depends what we'd get for Marion though. I'd honestly rather overpay some and keep him rather than just give him away for 2 role players. Hes a lot better than i think a lot of people suspect, given his limited time on the worst heat team ever last year. On a team with some talent i think he frees up a little and can really perform.

with a healthy Wade, Beasley/Chalmers/2Jones added, Anthony improved and Blount more motivated--we're a much better team
than last year and could make playoffs even without Marion but won't go deep even with him. sure he's better than what teams will give us..but he's gone after a year.
I'd rather see Dorell/2Jones-es and Beasley get more time at the 3 to have us ready for a deep run next year

ok guys here it is, j.r smith is on the block, pick him up asap,we could give up quin and barron this guy is 22 and can light it up, he can backup wade. we sign marbury when he comes available. now cook is not needed blount can also be moved but whos out there. curry david lee in a three team deal adding golden state for harrington. we might have to give up powell,haslem,lasame and a pick. zo coming back mid-year will help down the stretch. marion has to be traded but who do we get in return big ??? keep dorel his d is big. melo would be perfect but who else is out there that would fit here kg, t-mack,hinrich-thomas, howard-stackhouse, butler-blatche, who??? black the trucker, will keep in touch.

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