Chicago Bulls guard used recommendation from LaVine to earn roster spot
Zach LaVine isn't listed as an assistant general manager for the Windy City Bulls. But he helped stock this season's roster by recommending a longtime friend.
Guard Perrion Callandret is with the Bulls in training camp. Things can always change, but he expects to spend the season in the G-League with Windy City.
Callandret and LaVine have known each other since third grade. They were high school teammates in Bothell, Washington, northeast of Seattle. Last year, Callandret's job was to hang out in Chicago and be LaVine's friend.
"I wasn't expected to be a butler or anything like that," Callandret said this week at the Advocate Center. "It's just a best friend. He wanted me to come out because he was out here by himself and he likes having his friends around. We could go out to eat, we could go to the movies, we can go shoot together at night."
Callandret is no slouch on the basketball court. He spent five years at Idaho, averaging as many as 14.0 points in college. So LaVine suggested the Bulls take a look at his friend before summer league.
The tryout went well, Callandret played in four summer-league games, and now he's part of the training-camp roster. He spends a lot of his time working with two-way player Adam Mokoka and two others who will likely join Windy City soon: Milton Doyle and Justin Simon.
The Bulls open the preseason Monday when they host Milwaukee at the United Center.
"It's weird seeing him on the same court as me again, but I'm very happy for him and I just want him to continue to work and live his dream," LaVine said. "He's my best friend, but he's pretty much my brother since we've been together for so long."
Callandret said he and LaVine started as casual friends. They played in the same AAU programs, but LaVine usually played up while Callandret stayed with his own age.
It was during high school when Callandret went through some family hardships that the bond grew. LaVine's family invited Callandret to move in with them before his junior year.
"It was kind of like a shock to me because Zach and me were always good friends, but someone opening their home to you is kind of like an extreme," Callandret said. "It was surreal in a way. It was kind of like the feeling I had coming here (to Bulls camp). I don't know where I would have been without his family opening those doors for me.
"It was never anything about my family; my mom and my dad. They're the best, most important people in my life. It was never anything about them not wanting me to be around. It was just unfortunate events that sometimes happen. And Zach's parents and his family offered me a place to live."
The hospitality officially lasted one year. Callandret lived with his mom during his senior year of high school. But Callandret said he still considers the LaVines his second family. If he visits Seattle, he'll typically stay with them.
"It was literally like I was their son," Callandret said. "They still treat me the same way to this day. After that, Zach and me just became inseparable. We had this really good brotherhood that he never had because he only has sisters."
LaVine and Callandret should still be able to spend plenty of time together, even if Callandret is in Hoffman Estates playing with the Windy City Bulls.
Just like in any job interview, it's usually all about who you know.
• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls