JR Smith's time with the Cleveland Cavaliers may quickly be coming to an end.
After being notified by the team that he would no longer be in the rotation, the 33-year-old was blatantly honest when telling reporters he was hoping for a trade:
Smith spent most of the preseason sidelined with a hip injury. Instead of playing, he provided his insight to rookie Collin Sexton, second-year forward Cedi Osman and other young members of the Cavs.
"Being in the situation I've been in for the past four years, being a starter on four Finals teams, it's been obviously different," Smith told Bleacher Report.
While Smith may have been OK taking a back seat to Rodney Hood in the starting lineup, the removal of his services from the rotation altogether means a potentially messy situation if the Cavaliers can't find a trade partner.
Smith is owed a sizable $14.7 million this season, and his play has slipped significantly in recent years. He'd fit best with a veteran, playoff-bound team with a need for an athletic wing who can space the floor.
Despite his age, Smith is still in excellent shape and dropped 20 pounds this offseason. While he's owed just under $15.7 million next season, only $3.9 million is guaranteed, meaning teams that trade for him can save nearly $12 million should they waive Smith before the start of free agency.
While his value isn't great, he could still be a rotation member for a contending team.
Pelicans Receive: SG JR Smith
Cavaliers Receive: SF Solomon Hill, 2019 second-round pick
Like LeBron James, Anthony Davis should be surrounded by shooters at all times.
While the 4-4 Pelicans are currently in the playoff picture, they'll likely have to do more to stay there.
Hill has struggled off the bench thus far, putting up 3.1 points on 27.6 percent shooting. He's still owed over $12 million this year and nearly $13 million next year, a high price to pay for such little production.
Moving Smith to New Orleans gives the Pelicans another wing scorer to help balance out their strong point guard and power forward/center play. Smith would be an upgrade over Hill as an outside shooter next to Davis for a team that ranks 25th in three-point attempts.
For Cleveland to take on the extra money next season, the Pelicans tack on a second-round pick either now or in the future to seal the deal.
Grizzlies Receive: G/F Kyle Korver, SG JR Smith
Cavaliers Receive: F Chandler Parsons, 2021 first-round pick
Parsons has one of the worst contracts in the NBA (two years, $49 million) and has missed over half his games because of injury since signing with Memphis in 2016.
For a team clawing its way into the playoff picture at 4-2, the Grizzlies have to move on from Parsons to ensure they stay there. Memphis is also just 22nd in three-point attempts per game this season (29.0), something Korver and Smith could quickly improve.
The Parsons contract is bad, but the Cavs shouldn't need cap space for a few years while they work their way back to contender status. Taking on that money becomes a lot easier if Memphis throws in a future first-round pick, the price of offloading its worst contract while adding two of the NBA's top 12 three-point shooters of all time.
If Parsons comes back and helps the Cavs at all, great. If not, this deal was about filling up the cupboard with future draft assets.
Hornets Receive: SG JR Smith
Cavaliers Receive: PF Marvin Williams
This is a case of positional need and financial flexibility.
Sam Dekker is starting at power forward for Cleveland while Kevin Love deals with a sore foot. Behind him, Channing Frye is officially in "break glass in case of emergency" mode. That's not much depth on a team that needs floor spacing for guards Collin Sexton, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson.
Williams is struggling this season (6.4 points, 35.9 field-goal percentage) but has been a 37.8 percent three-point shooter during his four-plus years in Charlotte.
For the Hornets, retaining Kemba Walker should be priority No. 1 this offseason. That means he's set to get a healthy raise from the $12 million he's making this year, perhaps between double and triple that amount.
Moving Williams ($15 million player option in 2019-20) for Smith ($3.9 million in guaranteed money) would make paying Walker easier.
Smith would join fellow Klutch Sports client Miles Bridges on a bench that should help the Hornets compete for an East playoff spot this spring.
Rockets Receive: SG JR Smith
Cavaliers Receive: PG Brandon Knight
The Rockets have stumbled to a 1-5 start and should be looking for some scoring punch off the bench.
Houston ranks 29th in reserve scoring at just 31.7 points per game. And Smith's microwave scoring ability would help when James Harden or Chris Paul need a breather, as he can function both on and off the ball.
His outside shooting would blend perfectly with what the Rockets want to do, given they lead the league with a whopping 41.5 three-point attempts per game. Cleveland is putting up slightly more than half that amount (22.4), down to 28th.
The Rockets are one of the few non-Golden State Warriors teams left with true championship aspirations, giving Smith a motivated locker room to immerse himself in.
Knight is still recovering from an ACL tear suffered in July 2017, but when healthy, he's put up career averages of 15.2 points and 4.3 assists. The Cavs can afford to wait on Knight to return at full strength—the title-hungry Rockets cannot.
Smith gives Houston a healthy wing who can play right away, while Cleveland takes a gamble on Knight and his eventual return.
Suns Receive: SG JR Smith, F Sam Dekker
Cavaliers Receive: PF Ryan Anderson, 2020 first-round pick (lottery-protected)
While the Suns aren't contenders, the front office is now led by Smith's former teammate with the Cavaliers, James Jones.
This relationship should help smooth over any hesitation on a trade for Smith and reunite him with someone he's looked up to as a leader.
"Having guys come in and out like Mike Miller and JJ [James Jones], those guys really helped me from an understanding standpoint about guys who weren't playing, didn't have any intentions on playing, how they can have a huge impact on the team. Having those guys around makes it easier for me," Smith told Bleacher Report previously this season.
While the Suns are a dismal 1-6, all eyes should be toward this offseason when veterans Tyson Chandler and Trevor Ariza come off their payroll. Phoenix could suddenly become an attractive destination for free agents to come join Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and Deandre Ayton, and the team could open up roughly $16 million more by swapping Anderson for Smith and Dekker.
For Cleveland to take on Anderson's contract (two years, $41.7 million), it will need some draft incentive. A future lottery-protected first-rounder should satisfy both sides, as the Cavs can eat Anderson's deal while using him as a floor-spacing backup behind Kevin Love.
Greg Swartz covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.