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  1. #1

    Default An Insider Request

    THE Chad Ford picking the Pacers to come out on top in the East-
    Could someone post this? Thank ya much.

    -J

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?id=2143738

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Pacers back on top of the East
    By Chad Ford
    ESPN Insider


    Last summer, more than 90 players changed teams. Two of the top-five players in the league -- Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady -- were traded. And several top free agents, including Kenyon Martin and Steve Nash, bolted for greener grass elsewhere.

    This summer, things have been much quieter. Just over 50 players have changed teams. The most prominent free agent to bolt for a new team? Joe Johnson. The most notable player traded? Antoine Walker.

    But the relative quiet this summer doesn't mean the status quo will prevail next season. Insider breaks down how this summer's moves will likely reshuffle the standings in the East.

    Ford's Projected 2005-06 Standings in the East


    2005-06 Eastern Conference Forecast

    1. Pacers
    Team Breakdown
    Major additions: Ron Artest, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Danny Granger

    Major subtractions: Reggie Miller, Dale Davis, James Jones

    The skinny: Placing the Pacers at No. 1 has little to do with what they did this summer. It has everything to do with what they didn't do last season. With major suspensions for Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, the Pacers still managed to make a heroic run into the second round of the playoffs. The loss of Miller will be a major blow. But the Pacers are hoping that Jasikevicius (who has anchored three straight Euroleague title teams) will bring with him some of Reggie's fourth quarter swagger. The Pacers are also crossing their fingers that their last two first-round picks, David Harrison and Granger -- as well as the immensely talented and always injured Jonathan Bender -- will play big roles. But just like last year, the season hinges on Artest. If he's focused, the Pacers have a chance to be the best team in the league. If he flips out one more time, he'll do irreparable damage.

    2. Heat
    Major additions: Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, James Posey, Wayne Simien

    Major subtractions: Eddie Jones, Keyon Dooling, Rasual Butler

    The skinny: The Heat know they have about two, maybe three, more years of the semi-dominant Shaquille O'Neal left (despite giving him a five-year extension this summer). So Pat Riley took a major gamble by bringing in talented (and troubled) scorers such as Walker and Williams to put around Shaq and Dwyane Wade. We'll see whether it works. It reminds me a lot of what Kevin McHale and the Timberwolves did two seasons ago when they traded for Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell to help Kevin Garnett. It almost worked the first season and then blew up in year two. Will it take a full year for this one to backfire in Miami? There aren't enough basketballs in the East for Shaq, Wade, Walker and Williams, let alone Miami. If Michael Finley comes aboard, it will even be more ridiculous. Meanwhile, the team will be filled with players (Wade and Posey excepted) who have no interest in playing defense or team ball. It may work in the regular season, but I don't think the Heat are any closer to winning a title.

    3. Pistons
    Major additions: Dale Davis, Jason Maxiell

    Major subtractions: None

    The skinny: The Pistons are well positioned to keep up their dominant ways. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton are in their primes. Tayshaun Prince continues to improve. Ben and Rasheed Wallace, along with Antonio McDyess, still have plenty of gas left in the tank. The ugly departure of Larry Brown provides the motivation for the veteran Pistons players to prove that it was them, not Brown, who fueled the Pistons' engine. But if the Pistons are going to get past the Pacers and Heat, they will have to get something from at least one of their young players. Darko Milicic, Carlos Delfino and Carlos Arroyo were all disappointments last season. Some blame Brown. Others wonder if the players themselves were at fault. This year Darko and company have no excuses. Pistons president Joe Dumars and new head coach Flip Saunders agree they need more depth and would like their young guys to provide it. If Darko, Delfino or Arroyo can't deliver, the Pistons will have to start talking about trades.

    4. Nets
    Major additions: Jeff McInnis, Marc Jackson, Antoine Wright

    Major subtractions: Brian Scalabrine, Ron Mercer

    The skinny: Had the Nets not scuttled the trade for Shareef Abdur-Rahim over a questionable physical, they would've been right in the scrum with the Pistons, Heat and Pacers for the Eastern Conference crown. Without him, they slip to the second tier of teams in the East. The additions they've made, along with a healthy Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson and an improving Nenad Krstic, should make them a very dangerous team.

    5. Cavs
    Major additions: Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall

    Major subtractions: Jeff McInnis

    The skinny: So far, so good for new GM Danny Ferry. He might have overpaid Hughes and missed opportunities to replace Zydrunas Ilgauskas with someone younger. But the major goal this summer was to put a team on the floor that should be able to compete in the playoffs. On paper, it looks like the mission has been accomplished. If Hughes plays anything like he did last season, LeBron James has a legit All-Star as a sidekick. Marshall remains one of the most underrated players in the league and the team also has high hopes for last year's rookie surprise, Anderson Varejao. If the Cavaliers get some good minutes from Luke Jackson, they might be dangerous. However, the lack of a solid starting point guard and great perimeter shooters should keep the Cavs from seriously challenging for the Eastern Conference title.


    6. Wizards
    Major additions: Caron Butler, Antonio Daniels, Chucky Atkins

    Major subtractions: Larry Hughes, Kwame Brown, Juan Dixon

    The skinny: It's tough to get a great read on the Wizards. The loss of Hughes was huge, though it's tough to blame GM Ernie Grunfeld for refusing to give Hughes $70 million. Butler, Daniels and Atkins are all capable replacements for Hughes. Butler doesn't quite have Hughes' versatility, but he's a great addition who'll give head coach Eddie Jordan another potent scorer. The question mark is Daniels. He's coming off the best season of his career, but he just turned 30 years old. How much does he have left? If he can still play great defense and help Gilbert Arenas out at the point, the Wizards should be able to keep pace with what they did last season.

    7. Bulls
    Major additions: Eddie Basden

    Major subtractions: None

    The skinny: At first blush, it appears GM John Paxson hasn't done much to improve on a stellar season last year. But don't judge him too harshly. Paxson has been patiently waiting out restricted free agents Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry. He knows he has the upper hand at the negotiating table and has (rightfully) refused to overpay to keep either. More important, Paxson knows he has a young team that's going to need time to grow and mature. With tons of cap space coming to the Bulls next summer, he's keeping his options open and trying to make a big splash next summer on the free-agent market. It's the right call for a team with one of the brightest futures in the league.

    8. Bucks
    Major additions: Andrew Bogut, Bobby Simmons

    Major subtractions: Zaza Pachulia, Calvin Booth

    The skinny: The Bucks hit the jackpot in May when they won the draft lottery. Although I still think they should've taken Marvin Williams, Bogut was a very solid choice who should immediately contribute to the team. GM Larry Harris' luck continued this summer. Re-signing Michael Redd and Dan Gadzuric and landing Simmons via free agency was huge -- as is the potential return of T.J. Ford at the point. The Bucks have athletes. They have depth. They have an inside-out game. If Terry Stotts is as good of a coach as George Karl claims he is, the Bucks will make a serious run at a return to the playoffs.

    9. 76'rs
    Major additions: Steven Hunter

    Major subtractions: Marc Jackson, Aaron McKie

    The skinny:Allen Iverson is coming off an impressive season and Chris Webber should fit in better with Cheeks at the helm. But more important is the development of two of their key young players: Samuel Dalembert and Andre Iguodala. Dalembert was the leading rebounder in the first round of the playoffs against the best front line in the East (Detroit). Iguodala is the type of all-around player (he defends, rebounds, handles the ball and can score a little) that coaches covet. Toward the end of the season, it was clear several teams made a major mistake passing on Iguodala in the draft. If Dalembert and Iguodala continue to develop, the Sixers should be right back in the playoff hunt.

    10. Knicks
    Major additions: Quentin Richardson, Jerome James, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson

    Major subtractions: Kurt Thomas, Jerome Williams

    The skinny: Let the soap opera begin. Larry Brown's arrival has created a firestorm of expectations. Can Larry live up to them? Isiah Thomas did a decent job of getting Brown some more talent to work with. Richardson and Robinson, especially, could provide a big impact next year. But is the combo of Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Richardson, Tim Thomas, Malik Rose, James, Fyre and Mike Sweetney enough to put the Knicks over the top? There are way too many players on the Knicks' roster who aren't Larry Brown type players. Can he get Marbury or Crawford to play his way? If he can, the Knicks should be a strong playoff contender, a feat which would be among Brown's greatest. If he can't, Brown will want changes -- quickly. Will Isiah swallow his pride and dump his two biggest acquisitions since taking over the Knicks? Either way, the Knicks will be the biggest story of 2005. That may be all Isiah was looking for in the first place.

    11. Celtics
    Major additions: Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Brian Scalabrine, Curtis Borchardt

    Major subtractions: Antoine Walker, Gary Payton

    The skinny: Danny Ainge has drafted well the last two seasons ... maybe too well. The Celtics currently have 10 players on their roster with two or less years of NBA experience. Paul Pierce is good, but he and Ricky Davis can't carry the team by themselves. For the Celtics to make the playoffs again this season, they're going to have to get major contributions from players who might not be ready to make them. Of all the young players on their roster, Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Tony Allen have the best chance of having breakout years. But given the steep competition in the East this year, will it be enough to put the Celtics over the top? In two more years, we might be referring to the Celtics as the best young team in basketball. But this year might be tough.

    12. Magic
    Major additions: Keyon Dooling

    Major subtractions: Doug Christie

    The skinny: Never let a hockey guy run an NBA team. That was the lesson owner Rich DeVos learned the hard way last season. Former GM John Weisbrod traded away Tracy McGrady and promising rookie Anderson Varejao just when the Magic's fortune was beginning to turn. Grant Hill was finally healthy. The Magic finally landed their big man with No. 1 pick Dwight Howard. Instead, the Magic are now treading water with an unhappy Steve Francis and with a first-round pick who has decided he prefers Spain to Orlando. To be fair, the last mistake, taking Fran Vasquez at No. 11 despite some serious evidence that he didn't want to play in the NBA, wasn't Weisbrod's decision. But it was the latest in a long line of bad luck moves for the Magic. With no major additions this summer (Dooling's 5.2 ppg don't count) it's tough to see the Magic doing anything special in the East this season.

    13. Raptors
    Major additions: Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham, Jose Calderon

    Major subtractions: Donyell Marshall

    The skinny: New GM Rob Babcock got off to a rocky start in Toronto last season. He blew the draft (selecting Rafael Araujo over Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson and Josh and J.R. Smith) then gave away the only star the Raptors had ever known in Vince Carter. This summer hasn't been much better. Babcock inspired gasps for a second straight draft when he selected Villanueva at No. 7 (and Graham at No. 16 over Granger and Green) and then failed to get a top-flight free agent to Toronto for the second straight season. The team still has major holes at center and the point, which is never good news. If Villanueva doesn't pan out, it's hard to imagine the Babcock lasting the year in Toronto.

    14. Hawks
    Major additions: Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia

    Major subtractions: Boris Diaw

    The skinny: Johnson is a nice, complimentary player. But is he really worth invoking divorce proceedings over? Steve Belkin might have been a lousy, cheap, inflexible owner (at least that's how his enemies portray him) but he was right, on principle, to hold up the Johnson deal. Seventy million dollars was too much for Johnson, let alone two protected future first-round picks and a former first rounder. Will Johnson help the team? Yes. But not as much as he helped the Suns last season. Changing positions and becoming the focus of opposing teams' defensive efforts may just be too much for the laid-back Johnson to handle. The good news is that the Hawks landed Williams in the draft and still have lots of money to spend in the future. Now, if they could just find a way to swap Al Harrington or Josh Childress for a legit center.

    15. Bobcats
    Major additions: Raymond Felton, Sean May, Jake Voskuhl

    Major subtractions: Jason Hart

    The skinny: Despite a few bad bounces of the ping-pong balls (either Chris Paul or Marvin Williams would've been perfect in a Bobcats uniform) the plan remains unchanged in Charlotte. The Bobcats will continue to build slowly through the draft, maintain their cap flexibility, and prepare to make a big splash next summer in the free agent market. Felton and May were nice draft pick-ups, but I think the Bobcats made a major mistake letting Granger slip away. Everyone in Charlotte is crossing their fingers that Felton and May provide more of a draw and that the team gets luckier in the lottery next season. Given the improved competition in the East, they should have the best chance of landing the top pick in the draft.

  3. #3
    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Thanks for the post.

    As far as the top half goes, I would have put the bulls (assuming they re-sign everyone they need to) above the cavs and wizards.

    As far as the bottom half goes: if you're in the bottom half, does it matter how far down you are?

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    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Chad Ford has is right except the Bender Portion, I dont think anyone is hoping for Bender to play a MAJOR role, Any consistent role at all will be gravy for this team.

    Why Not Us ?


  5. #5

    Default Re: An Insider Request

    yes, thank you for posting!

    -J

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    How many times did he say a team made a mistake in passing up Granger.

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    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    How many times did he say a team made a mistake in passing up Granger.
    Yeah I saw that..! Hopefully we will hear that all year long!

    Why Not Us ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    How many times did he say a team made a mistake in passing up Granger.
    Ah . . . but most importantly he didn't say it about the Pacers!

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    I need to know. Is there ANYONE hinging ANYTHING on Bender being able to play this year?

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnar
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    I need to know. Is there ANYONE hinging ANYTHING on Bender being able to play this year?
    I still don't understand why he didn't play more in the summer league. Maybe you guys covered this earlier but was he hurting or did he actually feel like the one game and 8 points was enough for him? I guess Y'all gonna see this year.

    -J

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnar
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    I need to know. Is there ANYONE hinging ANYTHING on Bender being able to play this year?
    I can't wait to see him play this year. He is really going to be a force to be reckoned with.....





    Ok, so I can't say that with a straight face...
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Careful guys, the self appointed forum police might decide that this Bender bashing has to stop....

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Okay.....huge tangent coming your way........( this is not a Bender joke...so don't get p1ssy and stuff ).

    How many of you think that Bender will be a Pacer in the next 2 years?

    I think this season Bender will play anywhere between 1/3 to 2/3 of the season. The reason being is that he has 1 ( or is it 2? ) seasons to prove that he is worth something....why? cuz his contract is expiring.

    I want him to stay....cuz of the sheer amount of investment ( and patience ) that the Pacers Organization ( and us fans ) has put in him. But I wouldn't be surprised if he is gone sometime between now and the time he becomes a FA....not because the Pacers finally give up on him and trade him.......but because I think that he will show signs of life when he is slated to become a FA and he will get some outrageous contract offer from a GM that will force the Pacer Organization into the same situation with JJ.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Member Frank Slade's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC
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    Okay.....huge tangent coming your way........( this is not a Bender joke...so don't get p1ssy and stuff ).

    How many of you think that Bender will be a Pacer in the next 2 years?

    I think this season Bender will play anywhere between 1/3 to 2/3 of the season. The reason being is that he has 1 ( or is it 2? ) seasons to prove that he is worth something....why? cuz his contract is expiring.

    I want him to stay....cuz of the sheer amount of investment ( and patience ) that the Pacers Organization ( and us fans ) has put in him. But I wouldn't be surprised if he is gone sometime between now and the time he becomes a FA....not because the Pacers finally give up on him and trade him.......but because I think that he will show signs of life when he is slated to become a FA and he will get some outrageous contract offer from a GM that will force the Pacer Organization into the same situation with JJ.
    My Prediction after thinking about this for awhile Bender and Croshere will be kept this year. Thier Value will increase drastically next year as they will either be instant salary relief to the tune of 15 or 16 million at the end of '06 or the Pacers can trade both to a team with needed Salary Relief before the beginning of next season like NY. That's my take.

    Why Not Us ?


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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Upon taking a stroll to the bank....and thinking further about what I posted about Bender....I am beginning to think that we will finally get to see what Bender is capable of....for the next 2 seasons.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he averages more games over the next 2 seasons then he has in his entire career. But this is not because he wants to prove to the Pacers organization and us fans that he can do it....its more cuz of the "Benjamins" this time around. I know its business....and there is no such thing as loyalty....but if a team offers Bender more then what the Pacers will likely offer him.....he's gonna bolt. MPG and better chance at winning a ring won't be a factor for him....he's gonna take the $$ mainly cuz he knows that he is one leg injury away from calling it a career. All players can get leg injuries....but with Bender....any leg injury can cost him his career.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Formerly PacerFanInAZ Cactus Jax's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    While I don't expect anything out of Bender, whenever he plays, he creates nightmare matchups to the opponents, to the point that he gets double teamed every touch. I vividly remember a game against the Warriors where he was getting double and triple teamed every post up.

    I like Ford saying that they'll regret passing Granger cause he does a lot with the draft.
    "It's just unfortunate that we've been penalized so much this year and nothing has happened to the Pistons, the Palace or the city of Detroit," he said. "It's almost like it's always our fault. The league knows it. They should be ashamed of themselves to let the security be as lax as it is around here."

    ----------------- Reggie Miller

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Of course Ford was also sky high on Darko ...

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by Fool
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    Of course Ford was also sky high on Darko ...
    So was the rest of the league. If Miami had the 2nd pick at that time, they'd have taken Darko instead of D. Wade. Of course, IF another team had taken Darko, I highly doubt he'd have rotted on the bench for two seasons, but that's another thread.

  19. #19
    Jeff Foster
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Who did Detroit get the #2 from? I think that may have been one of the best drafts of all time. Darko will be forever a joke because of all the talent in that draft class.

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Foster
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    Who did Detroit get the #2 from? I think that may have been one of the best drafts of all time. Darko will be forever a joke because of all the talent in that draft class.
    From Memphis, for Otis Thorpe.

    The jury's still out on who got the better of that deal.

  21. #21
    Jeff Foster
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    Quote Originally Posted by shags
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    From Memphis, for Otis Thorpe.

    The jury's still out on who got the better of that deal.
    Wow, trades like that and the Sheed trade make you wonder....I don't think Joe Dumars is that good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Foster
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    Wow, trades like that and the Sheed trade make you wonder....I don't think Joe Dumars is that good.
    Dumars didn't make that trade. It was done in 1997. Had Memphis got the #1 pick, they would have been able to keep it that year.

    But, like I said, the jury's still out who got the better of that deal.

  23. #23

    Default Re: An Insider Request

    What is the arguement that Memphis got the better of the deal?
    "They could turn out to be only innocent mathematicians, I suppose," muttered Woevre's section officer, de Decker.

    "'Only.'" Woevre was amused. "Someday you'll explain to me how that's possible. Seeing that, on the face of it, all mathematics leads, doesn't it, sooner or later, to some kind of human suffering."

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    Formerly PacerFanInAZ Cactus Jax's Avatar
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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Detroit got the better end of the deal even with Darko as is. It's OTIS THORPE!!!

    Darko could at least be traded for an Al Harrington or something.
    "It's just unfortunate that we've been penalized so much this year and nothing has happened to the Pistons, the Palace or the city of Detroit," he said. "It's almost like it's always our fault. The league knows it. They should be ashamed of themselves to let the security be as lax as it is around here."

    ----------------- Reggie Miller

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    Default Re: An Insider Request

    Speaking of Detriot I haven't seen Kstat around for a couple days.

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