When the Cleveland Cavaliers lost in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, most fans knew that changes were coming. It looks like the first big change that the Cavaliers are making will be moving one of their own players to one of the biggest threats to the Warriors in the Western Conference. ESPN reported on the first day of NBA free agency that the Cavaliers are talking to the Houston Rockets about an Iman Shumpert trade.

The reported Cavaliers-Rockets NBA trade

ESPN reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers are talking about moving Iman Shumpert to the Houston Rockets in exchange for a number of non-guaranteed contracts.

This continues the attempts by the Cavaliers to try to build a team powerful enough to challenge the Golden State Warriors for the Western Conference title in 2017-18.

The Cleveland Cavaliers owe Iman Shumpert $21.3 million over the next two seasons and moving him in a trade would free up that money for free agent acquisitions. The Houston Rockets just traded for Chris Paul but failed to land Paul George so they are looking to add more pieces to contend next season.

Cleveland Cavaliers gains

The big move for the Cleveland Cavaliers in this trade will be to free up money to chase someone who can help LeBron James try to rebound from their NBA Finals collapse and compete for the NBA Championship next season.

There are still rumors that LeBron might leave the Cavs after next season - especially if they can't beat the Warriors - or whoever makes it to the NBA Finals next year from the West.

Adding a key big name free agent would allow the Cavaliers to close the gap on the Warriors. By sending one of their better players to the Houston Rockets, they also attempt to make things harder for Golden State as well.

Houston Rockets gains

The Houston Rockets already became a much better team when they traded a number of role players for NBA All-Star Chris Paul. While Dwight Howard has left the Rockets, Paul and James Harden will become a hugely dynamic duo in Houston. If the Rockets can add some valuable pieces like Iman Shumpert, they believe that they can compete with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.

The problem is that the Oklahoma City Thunder scooped the Houston Rockets and traded for Paul George. That puts the Thunder and Rockets on equal ground behind the Spurs and Warriors and the arms race will continue as the offseason progresses. The only problem is that Shumpert is refusing to waive his player option for 2018-19, so he might be a one-year rental if the Cavaliers and Rockets pull off the trade.

Iman Shumpert averaged 7.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while playing 76 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.