Mike Vorkunov: Leon Rose thanks coach Mike Miller for h…

Mike Vorkunov: Leon Rose thanks coach Mike Miller for his “leadership & professionalism” in his letter to NYK fans. Miller has been asked to coach the team & become its public spokesperson in media vacuum Knicks created. He’ll be the one answering questions tonite about Knicks hiring Rose too.

More on Knicks Coaching Job

We reported Tuesday that Jay Wright would need to be overwhelmed by an offer to entertain the idea of leaving Villanova for the Knicks or any other NBA team. A separate NCAA source backed that assertion on Wednesday, saying that, at this point, the chance of Wright ending up as New York's next head coach was 'very remote.'
We know that Leon Rose has connections to Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy. Both are expected to get consideration from New York. But Rose - and his longtime business partner William 'World Wide Wes' Wesley - certainly have relationships with dozens of coaches around the NBA and NCAA. Included among that group is former Knick Mark Jackson and ex-Knicks head coach Mike Woodson.
During an interview with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts on WFAN Sports Radio in New York, David Falk talked up the Knicks and Calipari. "I'm waiting for — I'll take bets on how long it's going to take before they hire John Calipari to be the next coach," Falk said. "I'd say 30 seconds. And I hope it works. I'm rooting for him to make it work."
"I really hope the Knicks get a lot better," Falk said. "If my boy 'World Wide Wes' — who I've known forever — is a part of the package, he's one of the great personalities I've ever met. Really well-connected guy. Really interesting person. I really hope it works. And I will take bets — despite the denials — I will take bets on Calipari being the (Knicks) coach next year."
Even Knicks wing Kevin Knox, who played for Calipari at Kentucky during the 2017-2018 season, doesn’t think Calipari would leave Kentucky for New York or the NBA. “When Cal says he’s not going to do something, he’s pretty solid he’s not going to do it,” Knox told reporters when asked. “I think he’s came out with multiple reports saying he didn’t want to do it. Cal loves Kentucky. He runs that state, the fans love him there. He’s got the basketball program on lock there, so I don’t think he will leave that opportunity to keep helping kids get to the NBA.”
The Knicks held a players-only meeting to rally support for their coach. But there was one problem: Fizdale was fired just hours later. Sources confirmed that Marcus Morris, who has been Fizdale’s top supporter in the locker room, led the session prior to Friday’s practice. It came on the heels of the Knicks getting blown out by the Nuggets on Thursday at the Garden.
Morris, according to a source, preached accountability and playing unselfishly, pointing the finger at himself as well as teammates, specifically Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. The message was well received by the players, a source said. Fizdale then conducted practice at the Tarrytown facility and was promptly fired afterwards.
Metta World Peace: If the @nyknicks is available, I definitely want to head coach there. I will absolutely bring that street mentality to the garden. Red brick , hard nose , let’s get it popping. QB . This would be epic for all people like me. Straight from the jungles to win a title in NYC. Blaat
Mike Vorkunov: David Fizdale coached the Knicks in practice today. A few hours later he was fired. He was asked post-practice if he was worried this would fall on him. “I don’t think about that stuff," he said at about 2:15 pm. "I don’t think about it at all."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks also dismissed assistant Keith Smart, league source tells ESPN.
Beasley, who also got into a verbal spat on the sideline with Walton during the Lakers' 138-128 overtime victory in Oklahoma City just more than two weeks ago, repeatedly referred to Walton as "bro" during the exchange Saturday, which touched a nerve with the coach, a source told ESPN.
KC Johnson: Exec VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman both attended today’s 2nd meeting. This is significant because, along with Paxson’s previously publicly stated goal for Boylen to return next season, it underscores the organizational mandate Boylen feels he has to push players.
Adam Zagoria: David Fizdale on a timetable for the #Knicks being a playoff team: "Our timetable is we're going to embrace the journey every single day to get better." Declines a specific timeframe. @theknicksblog @SNYtv

http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0785521961211007769-4
Mike Vorkunov: David Fizdale: "I used to tell my mom I was going to play in the mecca -- I would play in the Garden one day -- when I was a little kid. Ma, I didn’t get to do that." His mom, sitting front row: "That’s alright." Fizdale: "I’m gonna coach though."
Ian Begley: Knicks have hired David Fizdale as head coach. Owner James Dolan: “David is a bright and creative basketball mind who is highly respected throughout the NBA. I’m confident that Steve and Scott identified the right coach to lead this team to the success our loyal fans deserve.”
Ian Begley: Knicks GM Scott Perry called David Fizdale a ‘dynamic’ coach who will thrive in NY. “His championship pedigree, resiliency and expertise in player development make David well-suited to establish the Knicks as a consistent winning basketball team.”
Ian Begley: David Fizdale said he’s ‘honored’ & ‘humbled’ for the opportunity to coach the Knicks. “I appreciate the enormous responsibility it is to coach the Knicks and am ready to give my all to build the type of winning team the passionate fans of New York will be proud of.”
Regarding Juwan Howard, it's highly unlikely that he'll be joining David Fizdale's staff in New York, per sources. Potential candidates for staff additions include Keith Smart, who worked with Fizdale in Miami and Memphis and is likely to join as an assistant.
Ex-Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who hired Fizdale when Woodson was a head coach in Atlanta, is also a candidate to join Fizdale's staff. Howard, a current Miami assistant, interviewed for the Knicks job. Fizdale may want him on his staff but Miami would have to give the Knicks permission to allow him to leave, which is highly unlikely. The New York Post earlier reported that Smart was likely to be added to Fizdale's staff. Another name to keep an eye on as an addition to the staff in some capacity? Memphis scout Adam Johansen, who worked with Fizdale in Miami and Memphis.
Why did a team that overachieved in Fizdale's first season suddenly pull the plug just 19 games into his second? The short answer is that he and Marc Gasol didn't get along. The complex reason, as league sources laid out, is that the partnership was doomed from the start. Carrying a mantra Fizdale liked to repeat — "the Miami Heat way" – he tried to completely overhaul a system and core that'd been successful for seven seasons and peaked with an appearance in the Western Conference finals.
"He wanted his own locker room," a Grizzlies source told the Daily News. "And he basically convinced management to get rid of Zach (Randolph), to get rid of Tony Allen." Trying to morph the Grizzlies was always going to strain a relationship with Gasol, and the toxicity reached a pivotal moment when, according to a source, Fizdale confronted the team about its lack of desire following a defeat. The coach went around the locker room asking each player if he believed he could win a championship. If they lacked belief, they didn't belong on the Grizzlies.
The younger players went along. Gasol, however, answered, "No." Then when asked for an explanation, Gasol replied, "We don't have the right leader." Fizdale had a solid comeback, but it couldn't have helped his future with Gasol. "I get it, you want Gregg Popovich, and I want LeBron James," the coach told his star player, according to a source.
The frosty relationship carried on for almost a year before Fizdale was fired in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. By that time, according to sources, Fizdale had alienated Gasol by disregarding the Spaniard's accomplishments — both in the NBA and overseas — and casting away Randolph and Allen. In pushing away Randolph, Fizdale even told the media that the two-time All-Star was no longer an NBA starter and moved him to the bench to audition for his next job. Privately, that didn't play well.
Smart and Fizdale were both assistant coaches in Miami and Fizdale brought Smart with him when he took the head coaching job in Memphis.
Lee spent parts of three seasons in Memphis and remains close with some players there. He knows of the fallout that Fizdale had with center Marc Gasol that ultimately cost him his job this past season. But Lee also has heard nothing but good things about the Knicks’ new coach. Lee also believes holding your best player accountable shouldn’t be viewed as a negative. “I just know that he’s a great players’ coach,” Lee said during a phone interview Friday. “He’ a guy that’s going to fight for what he believes in and fight for his team. He got that culture instilled in him in Miami. He was with [Erik] Spoelstra and with Pat Riley for a while. You saw the success they had in developing players and pushing for them playoff runs.
The hire was met with almost universal approval from Knicks players. They flooded Twitter and Instagram with welcoming messages after general manager Scott Perry texted them with the news. “I like him a lot,” Enes Kanter told The Athletic. “I think it’s amazing. Defensive-minded coach. I think it’s going to be good for the Knicks.”
Troy Williams, the Knicks swingman, played for him in Memphis and gushed over his hire. He remembers a coach who made him feel at ease with the team. Williams holds Fizdale in high esteem for his motivational tricks. He pointed to the Fizdale’s fluency in playing mind games, noting the coach riled him up last season during a game against Golden State. Fizdale accused Williams of playing scared and not hard enough, finding the right buttons to push, Williams said, to tweak him into a state of utilitarian anger on the court. “He’s a laid-back person himself but he brings out the best in a person,” Williams told The Athletic. “He puts people in the best positions.”
David Fizdale has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of the New York Knicks, league sources told ESPN. Fizdale met with Knicks owner James Dolan on Thursday in New York, who then gave his approval to president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to enter into contract negotiations with Fizdale, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Fizdale will sign a four-year contract with the Knicks, league source tells ESPN.
Michael Scotto: David Fizdale passed on a 4-year offer from the Phoenix Suns before eventually accepting a 4-year offer from the New York Knicks to become head coach, league sources told The Athletic.
Al Iannazzone: David Fizdale and the Knicks have an agreement in principle on a deal. An announcement and introductory press conference isn't expected until next week.
Vincent Goodwill: Although David Fizdale is the front-runner for the Knicks job, David Blatt and Mark Jackson are still firmly in the running, according to sources
Mike Woodson still is gunning for a second stint as the Knicks’ head coach, but acknowledged he would listen if David Fizdale were to offer him an associate coaching job. That is, if Fizdale winds up beating him and nine other candidates for the Knicks’ job. When contacted by The Post, Woodson said: “I love David. I gave him his first job on the bench — I know he worked one season before in Golden State. We’re very close. I’m sure he would call.’’
Fizdale may have his pick of the litter. According to a source, Fizdale was set to conduct his final interview with the Magic on Wednesday or Thursday. Fizdale already has interviewed with the Knicks, Suns, Hornets and Hawks. The Suns made the first hire Wednesday, choosing Utah assistant Igor Kokoskov. An NBA source said the Knicks are “zeroing in’’ on a choice. [...] “There’s an army of fans in the league that just rave about [Fizdale],’’ an NBA executive said.
Woodson also noted while with the Knicks he used a lot of two point-guard fronts — which is in vogue — with Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. “I had one of the great isolation players in the game in [Carmelo Anthony], so I’m going to try to get my best player some shots,’’ Woodson said of his isolationist rep. “But do the homework and look at the numbers on 3-pointers attempted and made.” Woodson said he had “a great meeting’’ with Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry. “Everyone’s just waiting,’’ Woodson said.
The Knicks interviewed a wide array of candidates for their vacant head-coaching position, and have considered other candidates that include former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, league sources said. No agreement between Fizdale and the Knicks has been finalized, league sources said.
Fizdale emerged as a leading candidate after the Knicks fired Jeff Hornacek once the end of the season, but the front office made sure to do its due diligence in meeting with more than 10 coaching candidates. The Knicks’ front office met with accomplished head coaches – such Budenhozler, the 2014-15 Coach of the Year, Jackson, Mike Brown – as well as strong assistant candidates in San Antonio’s James Borrego, Boston’s Jay Larranaga and Miami’s Juwan Howard.
Blatt is definitely in the running because of his relationship with Mills, his former teammate at Princeton. "Steve has tried to hire Blatt twice," says one Knicks source. "He really likes him as a coach. The question is will Steve hire him now? If it's Blatt, that's Steve's choice. I don't know if he'd want to put himself out there."
From all indications, Blatt, David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse are the leading candidates. Mark Jackson, the fan favorite, appears to be among that next wave of candidates. That also appears to be the case with Mike Budenholzer, who would be a great choice.
After talking with Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown, the New York Knicks have completed interviews for the franchise's head-coaching job, and team officials are huddling to reach a consensus on the hiring of a candidate, league sources told ESPN. The Knicks hope to hire a new coach this week, sources said.
Former Memphis coach David Fizdale, former Cleveland coach David Blatt and former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer are among the candidates whom president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have met with in recent weeks. Former Golden State coach Mark Jackson, Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, San Antonio assistant James Borrego, Toronto G League coach Jerry Stackhouse, Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Clippers assistant Mike Woodson and television analyst Kenny Smith are among the candidates the Knicks interviewed to replace Jeff Hornacek, who was fired after two seasons as coach in April.
One person familiar with the situation said Budenholzer, who interviewed with the Knicks last week, recently talked of preparing a presentation for the Bucks and Knicks. In addition, Budenholzer considered the Knicks his top choice only before the Hawks fired him on Friday, allowing him to collect all of the $14 million left on his deal.
According to an NBA source, Knicks president Steve Mills and Perry are not ruling out interviewing an 11th candidate, though no one is on the docket. That could mean Rivers — or Portland’s Terry Stotts — still is on their radar. Stotts is reportedly on shaky ground after getting swept in the first round by the Pelicans.
Despite reports about the Knicks having already interviewed him in Istanbul, coach Blatt clarified that this has not happened yet. As he said to Anadolu Agency: “I haven’t met with NBA teams so far. I will meet some of the NBA teams in the near future, there are the New York Knicks rumors, but there may be other teams as well. I have nothing but Darussafaka in my heart in the rest of the season.”
“I think the 18 years I’ve been on TNT has prepared me for a lot of opportunities, coaching being one of them,” Smith said this week on SiriusXM radio. “The preparation, the reservoir of information, relationships – from players to everything, players to coaches to assistant coaches. From being in college basketball doing the Final Four, AAU teams – every element has prepared me for more direction… “As long as it’s basketball it’s always going to be me. Coaching is on the aspiration list. I did meet with the Knicks and that was a lot of fun. They’re still vetting their process. I’m just sitting back. I know that in terms of basketball I’m ready because of the 18 years that went on.”
Kenny Smith says he's in the "courting stages" for the NY Knicks head coaching job -- and says he believes he's battling 7 other candidates. Smith met with the Knicks last week and tells TMZ Sports it "went well" -- but he knows he's not the only fish in the sea. "We're in the courting stages. I know they're courting other people as well."
An NBA source said Budenholzer regards the Knicks as closer to winning, though the uncertainty of Kristaps Porzingis’ return casts a pall over the franchise.
Chris Forsberg: Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga interviewed for the Knicks coaching vacancy last week in Milwaukee. Larranaga: "They’re in the middle of their process. We’re in the middle of our process. I appreciated them coming out here. Obviously all my focus is on the Milwaukee Bucks."
No compensation will be needed to hire Budenholzer — once thought of as a potential stumbling block to any potential deal. The Post previously reported an NBA source saying Budenholzer considers the Knicks his “top choice.” “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes,’’ the source told The Post. “He wants to live in New York.’’
Sources have indicated the Knicks have strong feelings for the defensive-minded Budenholzer, who guided the Hawks to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. The Knicks are well aware of the good work he did helping Tim Hardaway Jr.’s career when he played in Atlanta. The drawback is they have no prior connection to him, but the plus is he’s part of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree.
The Hawks gave Budenholzer permission to speak with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks for their coaching openings last week. Budenholzer interviewed with the Knicks on Sunday and remains a candidate for the job, league sources said. He pulled out of contention for the Suns job after several conversations with ownership and management.
The Knicks’ list of candidates for their coaching vacancy continues to grow. They’ve interviewed Celtics’ lead assistant coach Jay Larranaga, according to a league source. They received permission to speak to Larranaga and met with him last week, the source said. [...] Larranaga is the ninth known person the Knicks have interviewed or will interview.
Larranaga, 43, is a rising young coach, who has been with the Celtics for six seasons, the last four as Brad Stevens’ top assistant. Larranaga was considered for the Celtics’ job before they hired Stevens, one of the best coaches in the league. He has interviewed for head coaching jobs in Philadelphia and Memphis previously. The Celtics have reached the postseason for four straight seasons, and had the NBA’s top-rated defense. One of Larranaga’s strengths is a Knicks’ focus now: player development. He spent two seasons coaching the Erie BayHawks, which was the Knicks’ Developmental League affiliate before they purchased their own team in 2014.
While the organization and president Steve Mills have been through this before, each process of finding a coach is unique. No search is the same, with different executives seeking different things and looking for different traits. Grunwald’s experiences, more than a decade apart, are indicative of how even the same GM can take different approaches. “It’s the hardest thing we do,” one former GM said. “There’s nothing even remotely close to finding the right coach.”
Rod Thorn, the former Nets and 76ers executive, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer, says that general managers always keep a list in their heads. “In reality, you’re constantly observing coaches,” he said. “You see coaches who you say they’re doing a terrific job and you try to ascertain why.”
Interviews can last for hours, or sometimes even bleed into a second day, with the former league executive saying his lasted four hours on average, and another saying they sometimes had split sessions with the GM talking to a coach one day and other members of the front office engaging the coach the next day without the executive present. “Some coaches are great interviewers and not-so-great coaches,” Grunwald said. “I’m not going to say who, but I fell victim to that.”
The biggest key to any future success, executives unanimously say, is alignment throughout the organization. Trying to project that from such a short amount of time and little interaction is extremely difficult. “Sometimes you get tricked,” Thorn said. Says one former head of basketball ops, summing up a common belief: “In general they tell you what you want to hear.”
Executives will hear out how a coach wants to build out his staff, trying to glean clues from hires he’d make. If an ex-player is only interested in hiring friends and ex-players, one former exec says, that’s a red flag. So is if, say, an offensive coach doesn’t want to add a defensive-minded assistant on staff. The organizations a prospective coach has worked for can be instructive because it shows who they’ve worked for and what philosophies they’ve been exposed to and prefer.
Brown, Woodson and Knicks general manager Scott Perry were together in Detroit in the early 2000s during glorious times for the Pistons. Perry was Detroit’s top college scout. Woodson was Brown’s assistant with the Pistons and also in Philadelphia. “I’ve read a whole lot of qualified candidates, but I can’t imagine anyone being more qualified than Mike,’’ Brown told The Post in a phone interview. “Mike’s family to me, we speak almost daily. I have a lot of admiration for him. He’s close to Bobby Knight. I think the world of him. When he was in New York, I thought he did a really good job. The year they struggled, they lost Jason [Kidd], Rasheed [Wallace] and Kurt Thomas. Those were three older, responsible leaders and great teammates. Mike loved New York. He had a great relationship with [owner] Mr. [James] Dolan.
The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete. A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.
Knicks GM Scott Perry is planning to pair the European trip with a scouting side-trip, sources said. The Perry-Blatt meeting will be telltale to Blatt's candidacy. Blatt has a strong history and relationship with Knicks president Steve Mills, and Mills has been an advocate for Blatt to become Knicks head coach when he worked with Phil Jackson and now Perry.
After the trip overseas, the Knicks are expected to meet with San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego in New York, league sources said. The Spurs granted permission to New York to interview Borrego, sources said. Among the Knicks' head-coaching interviews already completed, David Fizdale and Jerry Stackhouse made strong cases for themselves, league sources told ESPN.
Blatt, who coached in Turkey this season, confirmed to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that he will be interviewing with the Knicks. The former Cavaliers coach has a relationship with Mills; the two played together at Princeton and remain friends.
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
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April 14, 2021 | 9:05 am EDT Update
The biggest reason why is because Capela has played at an All-Defense level, and he should be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year, alongside guys like Rudy Gobert, Ben Simmons, Bam Adebayo and Myles Turner. The Hawks are 6.7 points worse defensively when Capela sits this season. “I think he’s been probably one of the most consistent guys on the defensive end of the floor for us,” Nate McMillan said. “He has been helping us all season long. He’s not only been helping in blocking shots and rotating to the basketball, but rebounding at an elite level. What he’s been doing now, he’s been doing it all season for us. What we are trying to do is not have to have him clean up on the perimeter where we’re guarding and not keeping the ball in front so that he can stay attached to his man and rebound the basketball. With the adjustment for a center in today’s game, you’re not defending low-post or post-up players a lot in this league. You’re out on the perimeter having to help defend these quick guards in pick and rolls and make adjustments to get back to a shooter that can spread the floor. The consistency has been there all season long.”
When opponents do drive on him and try attacking at the rim, they’re only shooting 50.2 percent against Capela. That’s sixth-tenths of a percentage point worse than Gobert, who’s seen as one of the favorites in the DPOY race. I, myself, questioned before the start of the season if Capela was going to be as good as the Hawks talked him up to be and what they, frankly, needed him to be because of the center depth. He was never this good for the Rockets, but he’s been a godsend for this organization after having arguably the worst center depth rotation last season. Capela is not only third in the NBA in blocks, first in rebounds, but he’s also second in DRAPM, second in DRPM and second in defensive RAPTOR, all advanced metrics that Gobert ranks first in. This story isn’t about why Capela should win the award, only how he needs to be in the conversation. As someone who voted for the league’s awards last season, Capela would be on my ballot with Gobert and Simmons; and he would be on my second-team All-Defense.
When Sandiford-Artest watches Doncic, he’s as fascinated as much by his savvy as his skill, readily admitting that he would have had his hands full trying to slow down the Mavs’ star. “Luka, I mean, that kid is special,” Sandiford-Artest said. “I’m not going to lie to you, [defending him] would have been tough. What impresses me most is he’s a veteran at [22] years old. The way he sees it and feels it, he’s someone that I would have had problems with, because he would have been thinking ahead. He’d have been thinking steps ahead. He’s not one-dimensional.
At this moment, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Allen drops into a defensive stance. He pretends to shade Doncic to the supersized point guard’s left. “Go right. Do whatever you’re going to do,” Allen yells, sliding as he speaks. “You going to drive and lay it up? All right, I’m going to contest. Can you step back going right? OK then! You’re going to have to do everything to that right side. And what if you try to come back? I’m right here, motherf—er. I’m taking it! “You can’t get discouraged with prolific players. They’re going to score, but your job is to contain it and cut it down.
“If I can be a little physical with him and make him work a little bit more, a lot like [defending] Steve Nash. Now when it comes time to finish plays, maybe he’s not as geared to finish the plays quite like he was in the beginning, because he’s being pressured a little bit. Now he has to worry about what I’m doing from the standpoint of making him work, work, work while he has the ball and bringing it up the floor. “It’s not something comfortable. Yes, he can do it. But does he want to do it? Probably not.”
April 14, 2021 | 6:56 am EDT Update
Because of luxury-tax concerns, the feeling around the league is the Pelicans may pass on matching any offer over $20 million per season with rookie lottery-pick point guard Kira Lewis and combo guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the fold. The Post reported Ball has the Knicks on his radar. His father, LaVar, had hoped Ball’s youngest brother, LaMelo, would be drafted by the Knicks last November — wanting him to play amid the bright lights of New York City.
The Dallas Mavericks received calls before the March 25 trade deadline regarding backup guard Jalen Brunson, but they were not interested in dealing the ex-Villanova star. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst relayed that news on his Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast (h/t RealGM Wiretap). “By the way, I heard that around the trade deadline the Mavericks got some calls about Jalen Brunson. And it basically like ‘Luka’s obviously untouchable and Jalen is pretty much untouchable. If you’re going to offer LeBron, we’ll listen.’ “He’s being viewed as a foundational core piece going forward.”
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