Mary Schmitt Boyer wrote a nice piece on the pride of Cleveland Central Catholic over at the PD on Sunday, and I linked to it below if you missed it. I've always wished Earl Boykins spent his entire NBA career in Cleveland, and said as much over at WFNY this weekend after the Cavaliers lost to his Bucks on Friday. I could never figure out why they didn't go after him following the season for the Nuggets when he averaged 15 per back in '07, but Earl offered his thoughts on that to MSB.
First what I wrote on Earl from Saturday at Waiting For Next Year:
On Earl Boykins: I really wish the Cavaliers would have employed Earl for the entirety of his career. There is still no doubt in my mind that he would have made each and every one of the Cavs “LeBron James era” teams better, and he’d certainly give people a reason to tune in now.
Throughout his career, teams have not made the long-term financial committment to Earl as their starting, or key reserve playing, guard that his numbers have warranted. It’s a tough sell to owners I guess, who only understand that “this guy is shorter than me, what are you talking about a long-term contract?”
As a result, he’s bounced around throughout the thirteen years since staring at Eastern Michigan. He should have found that extension in 2007 after he had averaged 10, 12, 13, and 15 points per game over the previous four seasons, but he didn’t.
Regardless of that though, he always seems to find somebody to take a chance on him and consistenly produces for everybody that does. He scored more points (9) than Cavaliers starters Manny Harris (0), Alonzo Gee (2) and J.J. Hickson (2) combined on Friday night, and those nine are what he’s averaged playing 20 minutes a game for his last 616 NBA games.
He’s played in 26 games so far this season, averaging just over 8 points in 17 minutes of playing time a night. He has hit for double figures ten times, posted a season high 26, and scored 19 or more three other times this season as well for the Bucks.
Along with Charles Oakley, Earl Boykins is one of the two best basketball players to ever hail from Cleveland, Ohio in my opinion. I think Cleveland should do more to appreciate the guy, keep doing you Earl.
Then from The Plain Dealer, MSB:
"He did think he'd return to Cleveland for a third time about four seasons ago, but instead the Cavs used a guard corps that included Daniel Gibson, Larry Hughes, Damon Jones and Eric Snow.
"I thought I would be a Cavalier and I would have a chance to play with LeBron [James] and help win a championship," Boykins said. "I guess they felt their point guard situation was good enough and they decided not to bring me in. I don't hold a grudge. If someone feels that what they have is better than I am, I never take it personally.
"Whenever I've played the Cavs, it was always, 'Do you really believe these guys are better basketball players? Or are they just taller?' I think it came down to I wasn't tall enough to be a Cavalier. I think it was just that simple."
DaJuan Wagner's a lottery pick but Earl's not tall enough, thanks Cavs.