Making the case for an Allen Crabbe return to Rip City

Making the case for an Allen Crabbe return to Rip City

The Blazers need help at the wing. They have needed help at the wing all season. It's part of the reason they shipped the underperforming Kent Bazemore to Sacramento for Trevor Ariza. 

Ariza provided the pop the Blazers lineup needed, averaging 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 21 games with the Blazers. 

He was the answer in the short term. However, due to a family matter, Ariza has opted not to play with the team in Orlando. This once again leaves the Blazers with a hole in the lineup.

The Blazers did make a signing this week, but it was for 6'0"point guard Jaylen Adams.  Adams isn't the big forward Portland fans wanted, so it left Rip City asking, "who could fill the void?"

Fans keep giving their opinions on social media, and two names keep popping up: Former Trail Blazers Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe. 

Unfortunately for Blazers fans, Turner isn't an option. 

ET was traded to the Timberwolves earlier this season but never played a single game for the Timberwolves. While he was a buy-out candidate, he was never officially waived by the Timberwolves. 

So, not only is Turner not an available Free Agent, it doesn't make sense for Minnesota to cut him at this point. 

Turner isn't a three-point threat like Ariza, but his defensive awareness and ability to run the second-unit make him valuable. Just look at his performance in the playoffs for Portland last season.

Again, while ET would be fun to have back, he just isn't a realistic option. 

Crabbe, however, is. 

One month before the Hawks traded Turner to the Timberwolves, they traded his teammate Allen Crabbe to Minnesota. 

Crabbe played nine games with the Timberwolves and was waived on February 29th. 

Crabbe struggled this season averaging 4.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists over 37 games played. Still, he would be valuable to the Blazers at this point. 

He offers them the size they need and has the perfect skill set to replace Ariza. The Blazers love a good three-point shooter, and Crabbe is shooting 38.7% for his career. 

Crabbe would also likely be asked to start at the three, and he has had success in the starting five. He started 68 games for the Brooklyn Nets in 2017-18 and averaged 13.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, all career-highs.

But what Crabbe offers more than anything is chemistry and knowledge of the system. 

Crabbe came to Portland via the Cleveland Cavaliers on a draft-night trade in 2013. That's right, you may not remember but Crabbe was a Trail Blazers rookie with CJ McCollum. 

Crabbe spent four seasons in Portland, meaning he has four seasons of experience playing alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, as well as four years under head coach Terry Stotts.

He is the only wing on the market that Portland can sign and get up to speed without a major hiccup, and that is huge. 

The Blazers already have to re-integrate Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic into the lineup. The last thing they need is a new starting small forward with no experience in the system. Starting from scratch with two weeks before the season starts is not ideal. 

But with Crabbe, the Blazers could avoid that dilemma and hit the ground running. 

Is Crabbe the savior? Is he the missing piece to the championship puzzle? No, he's not. But he is a perfectly good solution to an unforeseen problem.

Portland is unlikely to make a signing before heading to Orlando, but if they do Allen Crabbe just makes sense. 

Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

The Trail Blazers signed a replacement player for Trevor Ariza Monday -- point guard Jaylen Adams -- and a whole lot of Portland fans seem upset about it.

Ariza, who opted out of going to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption of the season, is a small forward. Why a point guard? Who will play small forward? And what about bringing former Trail Blazers such as Allen Crabbe or Evan Turner back to fill that spot? Or what about signing some of the “name” players who are out there?

Well, I think I can help you with some answers here, based on logic and the experience of being around this franchise for a few days.

Let me make some points and you can pick out what you need. First, the small forward position:

  • The idea of Crabbe or Turner is a non-starter. Turner is still on Minnesota’s roster. He played in only 19 games this season and just one after Jan. 1.

  • Crabbe played in 37 games this season and started just once. He had a miserable season. And he's one of those players who seems to need the ball a lot, which isn't going to happen here.

  • Those “name” players people are talking about? The likes of Iman Shumpert and Gerald Green? Shumpert isn’t good enough to help and Green is hurt.

  • Veteran players who finished last season without a team would be going to Orlando in search of long-term employment -- a chance to showcase for a deal next season. That means they’re going to want playing time and if they don’t get it, that will be a problem.

  • There has never been a time I can remember where team chemistry and togetherness will be tested like it will be in Orlando. Players will have very little freedom of movement and contact with family or friends. Their stress level is likely to be off the charts. Adding players with excess baggage is not something a lot of teams will be willing to do. Not sure the Trail Blazers -- or many of the other teams in Orlando -- want to take chances with players who might be a disruption.

  • If this team gets eliminated quickly in the seeding games, which is a possibility, don’t be surprised if the team’s core players see their minutes cut down so that the coaches and front office can see the others play. They certainly wouldn’t be interested in watching over-the-hill vets looking for a contract from another team.

  • There has been an open transaction window since June 23 and if a veteran player hasn’t been signed by now, odds are he’s not valued by any of the 22 teams.

And now for Adams and the reasons for signing him:

  • Again, if the Trail Blazers can’t hang in the race for the final playoff berth, I would expect Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s minutes to be drastically cut -- or see them even shut down. Why risk injury if the team is out of the running? If that’s the case, help is needed at point guard.

  • I don’t expect Anfernee Simons to play 48 minutes in the absence of Dame and CJ, so Adams would be there to back up.

  • There is nothing wrong with getting an early look at one of the G-League’s best players prior to next season.

  • Adams will also help lighten the load for the starters during the three-week camp leading up to the seeding games.

And so, who do I expect to see playing small forward, with Ariza absent?:

  • Depending on matchups, I would expect Carmelo Anthony to get those minutes, alongside Zach Collins and either Jusuf Nurkic or Hassan Whiteside. I would also expect Gary Trent to get time at small forward, where he has spent time previously this season.

  • The league seems to grow more positionless each season and all sorts of big and small lineups are possible with what this team has on its roster.

  • Terry Stotts likes to stick with a tidy rotation in the postseason -- eight players, if possible. I think those eight would obviously include Lillard, McCollum, Collins, Nurkic, Whiteside, Anthony, Trent and Simons -- with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja used for specific matchups. There is not much room there for additions unless somebody else opts out.

Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

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Best of Quotes: Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe talk after loss in Brooklyn

The start of the Trail Blazers road trip in Brooklyn brought some familiar faces to the court. Former Trail Blazers Ed Davis, Allen Crabbe and Shabazz Napier all now play for the Nets. 

Crabbe logged the most minutes of the trio, who all came off the bench. AC finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with his four rebounds. Davis racked up a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Napier added seven points and ten assists. 

It was quite the night for the trio despite the loss to Portland. Here is what the former Trail Blazers had to say after the game...

Top quotes of the night from Ed Davis:

On what he sees different in playing against former teammate Jake Layman:

“Nothing – he’s just getting the opportunity. Everyone over there knows he can play. He’s an aggressive scorer, so for him it’s the opportunity to get more consistent minutes.”

On moving forward this season with an emphasis on rebounding:

“It’s huge. You know, they definitely killed us on the boards tonight. (Enes) Kanter and (Rodney) Hood and the rest of the guys. To win games you definitely need to get stops and get defensive rebounds. Those are key points.”

Davis finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Blazers on Thursday night.

Top quotes of the night from Allen Crabbe:

On where the Blazers hurt the Nets most tonight:

“Offensive rebounds. They got a lot of second chance points, they got a lot of offensive rebounds. It's hard to beat a team when you give up that many offensive rebounds and they get that many looks, second chances aside, you've got to them credit. They outworked us tonight."

On if it feels like he’s hot right now from three:

“I’m just playing basketball confident. Teammates find me within the flow of the offense and like I said, when I went out before I got injured, I felt like I was finding my rhythm, and I told myself to just come back with the same mindset – just stay aggressive out there and good things will happen.”

Crabbe has played just in just 32 games all season after missing nearly two months with the knee injury. In his last 10 games he is averaging 15 points.

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

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Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers win over the Nets

BROOKLYN -- It was a game that was going to set the tone for the Portland Trail Blazers seven-game road trip, according to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and after shaking off the rust; Portland was able to take advantage of the young Nets team.

Both Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter powered their way past Brooklyn to help the Blazers get a win to start the trip.

Final Box Score: Trail Blazers 113, Nets 99

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers win over the Nets:


1. Kanter imposing his will

Enes Kanter checked in as a Trail Blazer for the first time at the 3:14 mark of the first quarter. He quickly showed Blazers fans what he will bring to this team on the offensive end as Kanter muscled his way past Ed Davis for two back-to-back lay-ins.

The last two days, Kanter has preached that he will bring the energy and against the Nets he showed that energy on both ends. This is a game that Kanter matched up well again with a small frontcourt.

In his first stint as a Trail Blazer, Kanter went 3-for-3 with six points and four rebounds in nine minutes of work.  He made his first seven shots of the game.

2. Going up against Blazers East

Some of Rip City’s fan favorites are now with the Nets and you could tell the former players wanted to take it at their old team.
Midway through the 1st quarter all three former Trail Blazer players were on the court – Allen Crabbe, Shabazz Napier, and Ed Davis.

Shabazz and Davis showed their strong connection early with back-to-back successful pick and roll action. That was the first sign of the element of wanting to play well against your former team. Crabbe was also going hard at CJ McCollum one-on-one early.

Blazers fans should know—Nets fans seem to love/enjoy what all three former Blazers bring to their Nets team.

The second quarter Napier showed off some “Shabazzle Dazzle” with a between the legs pass to Crabbe who calmly knocked down the long three-pointer and the crowd went nuts. Which by the way, I felt like I was at a college game with section 114 chanting and standing for most of the game. It really was like having a student section going crazy for their team.  

Napier had a career-high in assists of a half with eight assists.


3. Strong third quarter despite foul trouble

It wasn’t until the second half started the Blazers looked like they were finding their groove on offense. Portland outscored Brooklyn 34-22 in the quarter and that was despite both CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic picking up four fouls each by the eight-minute mark of the third.

The triple-double watch for Damian Lillard started midway through the third as well. With just minutes left in the 3rd period, Lillard had 10poimts, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

It was one of those off nights for Lillard, but he found different ways to help his team secure a victory.

The Nets made a run at the Blazers to make it a one-point game 7:25 mark in the final quarter after DeMarre Carroll knocked down a jumper, but Portland was able to take care of business down the stretch.

And, this ended up not being the triple-double game for Lillard, but we all know he always wants the win more than the triple-double feat.

NEXT UP: Portland continues its seven-game trip with a stop in Philadelphia for the second game of the road slate. Tip-off between the Blazers and 76ers is set for 10:00am PT with pregame coverage beginning at 9:00am on NBC Sports Northwest.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Jake "Don't Call Me Snake" Layman another Blazer 2nd-round steal

Jake "Don't Call Me Snake" Layman another Blazer 2nd-round steal

Jake Layman’s road to becoming a force off the bench for the Trail Blazers has been long and quiet.

Until recently.

His first two seasons with the team he started only two games, shooting just 29.4 percent from the field and averaging 1.6 points in the 70 total games he played.

But since Jan. 4, he has averaged double-figure minutes in all 13 games his team has played, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and averaging 11.3 points per game. He’s had a 20-point game, an 18-point game and a 20-point quarter.

Pretty good for a guy who earlier in the season sat through 11 games in which he did not play at all. And a guy who was taken in the second round (47th overall pick) in the 2016 draft.

Layman never lost faith during his first two and a half seasons in the league. Nor did he lose his work ethic.

“I wouldn’t say I expected this, but I knew my ability,” he said after Monday’s practice. “I knew what I was capable of. I’ve put the hard work in and it’s paying off now.

“The past two years, during the season, not playing but maintaining my focus even when I’m not playing. It’s easy to get in that mindset when you’re not playing: to just chill and relax and just get by.

“The coaches have done a great job with me, keeping my focus. I’m always getting in extra workouts, getting work on game days.”

Layman is just one example of the solid job President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey has done in the second round of the draft.

When the Trail Blazers see a player they like – one they believe may have first-round talent – slide into the second round, they get proactive in pursuit of that player.

They don’t wait to see if that player slides all the way to their pick, they combine future second-round picks and cash to attempt to move into a spot where they can get him.

They did it with Layman, shipping the Magic their second round pick in this year’s draft along with a little more than a million bucks – in a year when the previous regime had left them with no first or second-round picks.

“We had identified Jake as a player with first-round talent,” Olshey said. “We pursued picks as soon as the second round began, in order to acquire him.”

Olshey got Allen Crabbe in the same manner but his biggest second-round coup could turn out to be Gary Trent Jr., whom he got from Sacramento as the 37th pick, in a trade for two second-round choices.

Trent is currently tearing up the G-League, leading the league in scoring at 31 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 85 percent from the foul line. He was the first player in G-League history to score 124 points in his first four games.

Layman wasn’t a big-time scorer in college at Maryland and not as well known as Trent, but he was an athletic player who made shots – the prototypical NBA player these days. And he is still looking to improve.

“I need to get better with my overall defense,” he said. “And on offense I need to get better with my playmaking.”

A quiet sort with the media, Layman swears he’s more outgoing with teammates than when there’s a camera in his face. But he leads a quiet life.

“I do my own thing when basketball’s over,” he said. “I go home with my dog and my fiancé (they will be married this summer) and just chill.”

Oh, and one more thing. That nickname.

“You can call me anything you want, but not ‘Jake the Snake,’” he said.

And since he played for the Maryland Terrapins, what about “Flying Turtle?”

“That would be OK,” he said.

As deadline passes,Trail Blazers don't use that trade exception -- surprised?

As deadline passes,Trail Blazers don't use that trade exception -- surprised?

The deadline for the Portland Trail Blazers to use that $12.9 million Traded Player Exception it received in the Allen Crabbe trade with Brooklyn expired at the end of the business day today. The Trail Blazers did not use it.

If you were surprised it wasn't used, you haven't been paying much attention.

Deals involving the TPE don't happen often and are difficult to pull off. The TPE would have allowed Portland to take that nearly $13 million exception and ship it to some team for a player earning that much (or less) money.

Problem is, these days not a lot of teams are looking to give away a quality player and get nothing in return. And many teams seem to be willing to pay luxury tax bills at least for this coming season. The Trail Blazers had one year from the Crabbe trade to use the TPE and were actively seeking a way to use it, according to league sources,

There was no comment from the Trail Blazers, whose policy has long been not to comment on things that don't happen -- just the things that DO happen.

But it didn't happen. And that should come as no great surprise.


Allen Crabbe returns to Portland, still searching for consistency

Allen Crabbe returns to Portland, still searching for consistency

When the NBA schedule was announced in August, Allen Crabbe said the first thing he did was look for when Brooklyn was playing at Portland.

Crabbe was traded from Portland to Brooklyn in July, and as it turns out, Friday’s game at the Moda Center hasn’t been the only time Portland has been on Crabbe’s mind.

“I remember them just like yesterday,’’ the former Blazers guard said Thursday on the eve of his return to Portland. “After my games I go home and turn on League Pass and see if I can catch the rest of their games. I’m still checking in on them, still watching them play, watching the guys.’’

He said it was “weird” to arrive in Portland and head to a hotel, and not his former home, and he said it was hard not to reflect on his four seasons in Portland, during which he developed from second-round bench warmer to a $75-million asset.

“I mean, I miss it, I’m not going to lie,’’ Crabbe said. “Coach (Nate Tibbets) did a good job developing me, teaching me how to be a professional … how to stick with it. No negatives in me being here at all.’’

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In Brooklyn, Crabbe has become the Nets’ starting shooting guard the last four games after being eased back into major minutes following offseason foot surgery and a sprained ankle on the same foot in training camp.

“He is what we call a system fit: he fits everything we are trying to do ,’’ Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “He’s a super-efficient player … he’s doing great. Love him.’’

Crabbe is averaging 11.1 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range in 24.7 minutes a game.

Being back in Portland for Friday’s game isn’t the only sense of familiarity Crabbe has been experiencing. His old bugaboo – consistency – has been haunting him in Brooklyn as well.

His production has been all over the board, scoring as high as 25 points at the Lakers, to going scoreless and taking only two shots in 20 minutes against the Knicks. His last game, Tuesday at Denver, he had three points on 1-of-8 shooting.

“That’s one of the biggest things I’ve been trying to change is the inconsistency part,’’ Crabbe said. “Having 20 one night, then the next night having three or four. So that’s just something I’ve been really trying to focus on … having a mindset of being aggressive. I think when I’m aggressive and get shot attempts up, good things happen.’’

The Nets (4-7) are prepared to give him the opportunity. Atkinson said “the sky is the limit” for Crabbe and that the franchise is “really high on him” and wants him to pursue becoming an elite player. Crabbe says he feels their confidence and realizes he has what he once longed for – a starting role where he is a focal point of the offense.

“It’s everything an NBA player would want – to be a key piece to a team,’’ Crabbe said. “I don’t think it was going to happen (in Portland).’’

The biggest adjustment he says is playing without looking over his shoulder, and not worrying about mistakes. The coaching staff in Brooklyn, Crabbe says, tells him to take risks.

“They are always telling me I’m the type of player who plays not to make any mistakes, but here that’s the only way you are going to grow – take risks, get out of your comfort zone, do things you normally wouldn’t. They are giving me the freedom to do that.’’

With Crabbe gone, who will fill that spot? How about Connaughton?

With Crabbe gone, who will fill that spot? How about Connaughton?

Allen Crabbe is gone, his contract and three-point shot shipped off to Brooklyn by the Trail Blazers. And if you had to choose one player on the Portland roster who has the best chance to fit into that off-the-bench scorer role, who would it be?

My pick would be Pat Connaughton. The third-year pro out of Notre Dame came on at the end of last season and became a part of the team's regular rotation on some nights. He even got court time in the playoffs. At 6-5, 210 he's a physical player who shows promise as an outside shooter and defender. He shot 51.5 percent from three-point range in limited duty last season and is at 40.7 percent for his 73-game career.

What say you, Pat? Are you ready to step into Crabbe's role?

"Obviously that's a coach's decision," he said after Tuesday's morning practice, the first of two workouts for the day. "But I learned a lot from AC. I was close to him and still am, I'm ready to do whatever needs to be done. I think I can step up, help the team win, make shots and do the things he did."

Connaughton is a big jumper and very physical. An athlete. But let him tell you what kind of player he aspires to be.

"I pride myself on being active," he said. "Use my athleticism on the defensive end and on the rebounding side of things and then making jump shots and being able to create a little bit off the dribble. Summer League was a short stint for me this year but I had the ball in my hands a lot and I learned those type of (playmaking) things from CJ and Dame. Obviously they are a little bit different players but you'd like to be a mix of AC and them. You want to shoot for that type of ceiling -- knock down shots and handle the ball when it's called for.

"Within the flow of the offense be a playmaker and make some shots."

There is a big emphasis on defense in Portland's camp and that plays into Connaughton's skillset.

"I think I've learned a lot in my two years in the league on the defensive end," he said. "It's not about picking a guy up full court, it's about your angles."

And Pat, I would say you are a little more physical than the average guy, right?

"Yeah, I would say so, too," he said. "I can use my athleticism to have an impact at the defensive end, both from an on-ball defender, a help defender and a rebounder."

Coach Terry Stotts showed confidence in Connaughton last season and gaining the trust of your coach is a big part of a young player's development.

"I really like Pat," Stotts said.  "He's really improved his shooting. He played on the front line in college and he's really developed his guard skills -- his shooting, his passing, his out-on-the-floor skills. There are minutes to be had with AC gone. Pat knows the opportunity is there.

"I think last year showed I wasn't afraid to put Pat in games. You can trust him. He knows all the plays from every position. He's a smart player. He talks, He's a good teammate.There's a lot of trust in Pat, not only from me but but his teammates. And for a young player, that's important."


Blazers: Crabbe deal is a gain... but is another trade on the way?

Blazers: Crabbe deal is a gain... but is another trade on the way?

According to ESPN, the Trail Blazers have traded Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn for forward Andrew Nicholson, then plan to waive Nicholson and will stretch Nicholson's contract.

The move lowers Portland's luxury tax bill by about $44 million, according to sources, and creates a $12.9 million trade exception that will be available for one year.

But the money side of this is only half the story. Portland parts ways with Crabbe and I can't say that's a bad move.

To me, Crabbe was the epitome of a good shooter but not a good player. For the most part, he disappeared in key times, had trouble defensively and was not a good passer. His contract was too large and it's ironic Portland traded him to the team that gave him that deal in the first place.

I believe this trade is a precursor to some other move or moves. The Blazers now have more flexibility. As I said earlier today, I still do not see any three-way deal with Houston on the horizon. Whatever is going on doesn't have anything to do with that proposed trade.


Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to the Nets

Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to the Nets

The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, swapping Allen Crabbe for Andrew Nicholson, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Blazers intend to waive Nicholson and stretch his salary to help create some cap relief.

In waiving Nicholson and stretching his contract, the Blazers will take just a $2.8 million cap hit over the next seven seasons.

For Brooklyn, they finally got their man. The Nets offered Crabbe a 4-year, $75-million offer last off-season, only to see the Blazers match the deal. 

Crabbe had been speculated in many trade scenarios, but a trade kicker in his contract made him hard to offload. However, Crabbe intends to waive his kicker, worth an extra $5.7 million, for the Nets. 

For the Blazers, they finally get to shed one of their bloated contracts and move closer to creating some cap flexibility. According to Bobby Marks, the Blazers luxury tax bill drops from $48.3 million to just $4.4 million with Crabbe off the books.

The Blazers need to create as much cap space as possible if they hope to retain 2018 free agent Jusuf Nurkic, and this move helps them do just that. The trade also creates a $12.9 million trade exception for the Blazers that expires next summer.



The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Andrew Nicholson from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for guard Allen Crabbe, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.  

“Allen has been a model teammate on the court and ambassador for the organization off the court,” said Olshey.  “He will be missed by all of us who shared the last four seasons with him. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his career in Brooklyn.”

Nicholson, 27, has averages of 6.0 points (46.7% FG, 32.1% 3-PT, 77.3% FT), 3.0 rebounds and 0.4 rebounds in 285 games (36 starts) over five seasons with Orlando, Washington and Brooklyn.

Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of St. Bonaventure, Nicholson (6-9, 250) split the 2016-17 season with Washington and Brooklyn, posting averages of 2.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 9.0 minutes in 38 games.

Crabbe holds career averages of 8.3 points (45.6% FG, 41.1% 3-PT, 84.8% FT), 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 226 games (24 starts) over four seasons with the Trail Blazers. Acquired in a 2013 NBA Draft day trade with Cleveland, Crabbe ranks third among all-time franchise leaders with a career 41.1% mark from three-point range (minimum 100 3-pointers).

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