$90 Million 3&D Wing ‘Name to Watch’ for Cavaliers: Report

Koby Altman

Getty Koby Altman

The Cleveland Cavaliers are on the prowl for two-way wings. The Cavaliers have made good with Max Strus compared to last year’s wings, but they want more. NBA Insider Marc Stein revealed that a possible target for them is Atlanta Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter.

“Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter is said to be another name to watch in Cleveland’s ongoing search for a 3-and-D upgrade — although absorbing Hunter’s contract (which has three seasons and $70 million left on it after this season) makes him a challenging payroll fit (and, frankly, difficult for the Hawks to trade anywhere),” Stein wrote in a January 16 story.

Hunter is averaging 14.9 points while shooting 46% from the field and 40.4% from three during the 2023-24 season, per Basketball-Reference. At 16-23, the Atlanta Hawks season is not going anywhere, which could lead to them trading Hunter. The Cavaliers have contracts to offer, like Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Georges Niang, and Dean Wade.

The fifth-year wing is also in the first year of a four-year, $90 million contract, per Spotrac. His contract will gradually get more expensive with each passing season, which could turn off any interested suitor. In the Cavaliers’ case, with Donovan Mitchell’s contract situation, they need to boost their title chances by any means necessary.

Hunter is not a star, but he might be the best they can hope for, and he would fill a hole for the Cavaliers.

Royce O’Neale Mentioned as Cavaliers’ Trade Target

De’Andre Hunter was not the only possible trade target for the Cavaliers mentioned by Stein. Stein revealed that the Cavaliers are keeping their eye on Mitchell’s former teammate, Royce O’Neale.

“One veteran team executive read my Sunday piece that wondered aloud about the Cavaliers pursuing a trade for Brooklyn’s Royce O’Neale and relayed that Cleveland indeed has O’Neale on its list of targets,” Stein wrote.

O’Neale and Donovan Mitchell are reportedly best friends from their days with the Utah Jazz from 2017 to 2022. If the Cavaliers traded for him, that is not a guarantee that Mitchell would stay long-term. O’Neale is more affordable than Hunter, as he’s in the last year of a four-year, $36 million, per Spotrac. The Cavaliers could also wait until the offseason to sign O’Neale.

Hawks May Include Hunter in Dejounte Murray Trade

The Athletic’s John Hollinger reported that the Hawks may include De’Andre Hunter (or Clint Capela) in a Dejounte Murray trade.

“League sources say the Hawks have had continued chatter on potential Murray deals. Some will tell you they’re getting close to the finish line, while others will say the Hawks are still on a fishing expedition to determine the trade value for him and other key players (such as Hunter and Capela),” Hollinger wrote in a January 14 story.

Hollinger explained why the Hawks may try to include them in such a trade.

“The overly optimistic extensions for Capela (one more year left at $22.2 million) and Hunter (three years left after this one for a total of $70 million) also have handcuffed the Hawks’ team-building. Part of the appeal of trading Murray just months after he agreed to a four-year, $114 million extension is that his contract could be the bait to stuff Capela or especially Hunter into a deal.”

The Cavaliers could potentially get in on that in a multi-team deal where they would get Hunter. The question would be what would have to be sent out to get him.

Read More