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Nets Welcome Cuban Defect


Lazaro Borrell, one of four Cuban basketball players who defected at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico last month, could have a shot at playing for the New Jersey Nets.

Borrell worked out at the Nets' practice facility for the second straight day Friday, and general manager John Nash said the team is considering inviting him to training camp.

"It's likely," Nash said. "He makes shots, he's athletic enough to play small forward and I like the fact that he's had success in international competition."

Borrell, 26, defected along with teammates Roberto Herrera, Angel Cabellero and Hector Pino prior to Cuba's game against the United States on July 18.

Borrell, who has been staying in Puerto Rico ever since, caught a flight to Newark, N.J. to work out for the Nets. The team put him through numerous shooting drills Friday, using a translator to help provide instructions.

Borrell, who stands 6-foot-8, made 13 of 25 shots from NBA 3-point range at the conclusion of his one-hour workout, Nash said.

He played professionally in Argentina the past two seasons under an agreement with the Cuban basketball federation, averaging 29.8 points per game in 1997-98 and 20.8 points last season.

"He's intriguing at this point," Nash said. "We'll monitor his situation and decide if we want to take him on."

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