Zach LaVine and Bryce Alford are teammates once again.
As was first reported by Hoops Rumors' JD Shaw and later confirmed by Spotrac's Keith Smith, former UCLA men's basketball guard Bryce Alford signed a non-guaranteed training camp contract with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Alford most recently played for SL Benfica in Portugal and Medi Bayreuth in Germany after spending the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue.
Alford was a three-year starter for the Bruins, starting his career in the 2013-2014 season and running through the 2016-2017 season, going to three Sweet 16s in the process. Alford's father, Steve, was UCLA's head coach during that time.
LaVine, now an All-Star guard and top-scorer with the Bulls, was a freshman the same year both Bryce and Steve Alford came to Westwood. Steve Alford often played his son over LaVine, giving Bryce 23.1 minutes per game and LaVine 24.4 minutes per game that season. Alford was a former three-star recruit, while LaVine entered as a McDonald's All-American and went on to become a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft despite coming off the bench for most of his lone year in college.
The LaVine-Alford reunion isn't the only UCLA action going on in the Windy City though.
Alford was a senior when newly-minted Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball was a freshman at UCLA, and the two started all 36 games alongside each other in 2016-2017. The backcourt combined for 30.1 points, 10.2 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game on 49.6% shooting from the field and 42.2% from 3 that season, and the Bruins won 31 games as a result – their most in nearly a decade.
Even beyond the numerous UCLA connections, the Southern California ties on the Bulls' roster run deep.
Former USC Trojans DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic will also suit up for Chicago this season. Former Los Angeles Lakers fan favorite Alex Caruso is under contract there as well. Forward Stanley Johnson went to Mater Dei (CA), and he could have been joined by another Southern California high school star in Ethan Thompson, who went to Bishop Montgomery (CA), if the latter hadn't been waived on Monday.
The Bulls start regular season action Oct. 20, giving Alford all of one week to make the final roster.