On Thursday Earl Boykins inked a one year $1.3 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that will have the Cleveland Central Catholic High School alum, and ex-Cavalier, playing in the NBA for the 2010-11 season at the age of 34.
His agent Mark Termini, a former Case Western Reserve University standout on the hardwood in his own right, said of the deal that Boykins "had offers from other teams but was comfortable with Milwaukee, one of nine teams the 5-foot-5 Boykins has played for previously."
The fact that Boykins is earning over a million dollars to play in a league that never really seemed to want to accept him as a 5'5" guard at the age of 34 is remarkable, and speaks volumes of his work ethic throughout his career. At each of his nine NBA stops all he's ever done is produce when given an opportunity. Over a career that's spanned eleven NBA seasons he's averaged over 9 points and 3 assists per contest. This last season with the Wizards he appeared in 67 games, scoring 6.6 points over 16.7 minutes of action per night. He will back-up Brandon Jennings next season on a Bucks team that could finish in the top five or six out East.
Earl broke into the NBA with the Cavaliers during the 1998-99 season. He played in 17 games for Cleveland that year before later playing 5 games for New Jersey that same season. He'd come back to Cleveland a season later to appear in 25 more games for the Cavs during the '99-00 campaign, and then play a combined 11 more NBA games over the next two seasons for Orlando and then the Clippers.
He stick around LA the following season, and play in 68 games for the Clippers scoring 4 points over 11 minutes of playing time per game. He'd then finally get an opportunity to play 20 a night for the Warriors the next season, and in that time average 8.8 points per game. That season in Golden State would finally prove to all doubters that he belonged in the Association.
He drew a reasonable amount of interest that off-season before signing with the Nuggets for the '03 - '04 campaign. I wanted the Cavaliers to sign him then, but they obviously didn't. He'd go on to average 10, 12.4, and 12.6 ppg over the next three seasons while playing 22, 26, and 25 minutes per game.
His best season scoring-wise would come during his last tour with the Bucks when he averaged 14 points per game during the first half of the 06-07 season. He would then be moved back to Denver, and finish the second half of the season up by scoring 15.2 per in those final 31 games back then with the Nuggets. Not surprisingly, that season he simply got more playing time than he ever did before, averaging 30 minutes per night.
In total Boykins has logged 11,992 NBA minutes, scoring 5,344 total points. Over a 48 minute stretch that point per minute average is is just over 21 per. Not sure what that means other than to say that Earl Boykins can score on anybody. As a sidenote, he's also demonstrated that he is in no way the liability on defense that some would have you think over the years.
There's a big part of me that would've like to see Earl play seven or eight seasons here in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. I think it would've worked out well for both parties. Regardless of that though, I hope it works out well for him this next season in MIL. Cleveland's still pulling for the pride of the Ironmen who's had to prove he belongs everytime he steps onto an NBA floor. Only to find a way to fill it up each and every time out for over a decade.