Con No. 1 - Hunter is an expensive long-term commitment
The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of a short list of franchises who have avoided entering the NBA luxury tax this season. While Hunter would not push them past this threshold this season, his salary will rise season-by-season, reaching $24.9 million in the 2026-27 campaign for the final year of his contract.
Trading for Hunter would guarantee the Cavaliers will surpass the luxury tax line in the near future. With Donovan Mitchell's contract extension looming, the Cavs also will be almost definitely pay Evan Mobley max money within the next few years. If Cleveland wants to add their second Finals victory in franchise history, they will be forced to pay a lot of money at some point. Budget rosters do not win it all. The question is not if the Cavaliers should enter the tax some day; the question is if De'Andre Hunter is worth the cost.
Hunter would be Cleveland's third-highest salary immediately, making roughly $89,000 more than Jarrett Allen, the current third-highest paid player. As it always ends up, the value in trading for a player revolves around what is sent in return.
Isaac Okoro is set to enter restricted free agency this summer, meaning the Cavs may already be preparing to spend upwards of $20 million more in salary next year. If Cleveland does not view Okoro as a long-term piece on any major contract, then this is their last - and best - chance to find the player who they believe is worth it.