When the Cleveland Cavaliers saw their season end in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics, it was expected that change would follow. Not long after, some change did come Cleveland's way, with the team relieving head coach J.B. Bickerstaff of coaching responsibilities.

Sure, letting go of Bickerstaff and beginning a search for the team's next head coach is a start. But, heading into this offseason, Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said that no seismic change would be coming to Cleveland's roster.

“I don’t see big major sweeping changes. I just don’t,” Altman said. “Like I said, more data speaks to [how] this works than it doesn’t. You can’t win 99 games over the regular season, make it to a conference semis, and be like, this doesn’t work. Again, this is just year two of this iteration of this core being together, and I have a lot of excitement for the future for this group and belief in this group.”

That means even if there are reported trade demands and hypotheticals in the public forum, the discourse will stop at Altman and the Cavs' doorstep. It also means that even if Donovan Mitchell re-signs, it's somewhat safe to assume that Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen will all be sharing the floor with him next season.

While that might be the reasonable way to react to the end of a playoff run, it doesn't mean that Cleveland won't be dynamic this offseason on the trade market. This Cavs team isn't flawless and has clear needs, especially for a backup big man, a backup point guard, and an additional player or two who can play on the wing.

The problem is that after Cleveland acquired Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, they're somewhat limited in terms of assets. That means the Cavs may have to explore breaking up pieces elsewhere to take this team to the next level.

Who could the Cavs trade to upgrade this summer?

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert (3) drives the ball against Boston Celtics forward Xavier Tillman (26) in the second quarter during game two of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

With Cleveland's commitment to its foundation, several players who could become trade pieces come to mind. Whether it's a combination of on-court value or salary relief a player's contract provides, it's clear that Caris LeVert, Georges Niang, Dean Wade and Sam Merrill could all become expendable for Cleveland if there's a clear and true upgrade available to the Cavs.

When the new year begins, LeVert will be in the final year of his existing contract worth approximately $16.6 million, which could be a piece that slots nicely into a bigger deal. LeVert's value only goes up when considering that he's emerged as a viable scoring threat, regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench. It could entice an opposing team to lower the asking price when Cleveland is negotiating for something they need.

Niang, meanwhile, will only be in the second year of the three-year deal the Cavs signed him to last summer and will be making $8.5 million this season. While a new coaching situation that empowers Niang's lethal three-point shooting acumen may not make trading a close friend of Donovan Mitchell worthwhile, the Cavs may have no choice with how asset-limited Cleveland currently is.

While he's in a somewhat similar position to Niang skillset-wise and contractually, Wade could have some extra value when the final of his current contract is not fully guaranteed. Sure, any team that obtains Wade in a trade will have to pay him $6.2 million this season. But, if the same team decides to move on from Wade, they'll only owe him $4.6 million, a discount compared to the $6.6 million his deal is valued at on paper, making the slight discount a little extra valuable for a team possibly acquiring Wade.

Finally, Merrill's contract is much cleaner contract-wise than Niang or Wade's. Heading into next season, Merrill will be in the final year of his deal, worth approximately $2.2 million. Sure, Merrill's on-court production sometimes makes him appear vastly underpaid. However, that small salary could be enough to make a trade financially legal for the Cavs and an opposing team to complete.

While it all remains uncertain what will happen, there are pieces in place for Cleveland to make upgrades on the margins. Granted, none of these moves will be on the level of what it was like acquiring Mitchell two summers ago. Instead, they'll be moves to support the existing foundation of what the Cavs have built. Hopefully, if everything goes right, it leads them to a trip to the 2025 NBA Finals. It may just cost a few familiar faces to get there.