The Miami Heat (24-17) are racking up wins without some of their key contributors. Miami is currently riding on a six-game winning streak without swingmen Justice Winslow, Rodney McGruder and Dion Waiters. Waiters, in particular, is expected to miss the remainder of the season after he decided to under a season-ending surgery on his left ankle, Shams Charania of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports reported on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Waiters has been sidelined since December 22 because of the nagging injury. The shooting guard initially considered postponing surgery by undergoing non-surgical rehab on the injured ankle. But after receiving a second opinion in Los Angeles, Waiters eventually decided to go under the knife.

By opting for a season-ending surgery, the Heat guard will concede $1.1MM in games-played bonus which can be only earned by playing at least 70 games. Still, Waiters is $12 million richer this season after re-signing with the Heat on a four-year, $52MM deal in the offseason. He averaged 14.3 points on 39 percent FG shooting in 30 games before he was shutdown.

Evan Fournier on the block

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders dropped some valuable info on the latest activities in the trading front, particularly on the availability of several trade candidates. After a scorching hot start, the Orlando Magic fizzled out in the second month of the season and never recovered again. Now that the Magic is bound for another draft lottery, the general assumption among teams – especially the buyers – is that they are looking to blow the team up at the deadline.

The Magic’s payroll is slated at $102MM this season and projected at $82MM for the 2018-19 season. In order to create space for potential new deals with Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, the Magic must find ways to shed some salaries. The trade deadline presents an opportunity for the Magic to unload some contracts. Although they would be glad to get rid of Bismack Biyombo and $17MM per year contract, moving an albatross deal isn’t feasible in the current market unless the Magic are willing to attach a first-rounder to it.

According to Kyler, shooting guard #Evan Fournier remains the most attractive asset the Magic possesses outside Gordon. The French guard is averaging a career-high 17.6 points on 45.9 FG% and 38.9 3PT% in 32 minutes per contest. The downside in dealing for Fournier is his significantly large contract. He’s pocketing $17MM this season and scheduled to earn the same amount for the next three seasons.

Nevertheless, Kyler expects teams to kick tires on Fournier around the trade deadline [VIDEO]. And watch out for the Pistons as they are reportedly entering into serious discussions with the Magic for the Frenchman.

Dealing Kemba Walker

Tim Bontemps of Washington Post tackled the most pressing issue on the Charlotte Hornets organization in his latest article Will the Hornets trade Kemba Walker [VIDEO] for assets and some cap relief? Although dealing an All-Star caliber guard like Walker will always be a big blow to any franchise, leveraging his trade value now for some rebuilding pieces might be a feasible option for Michael Jordan and his front-office team. The insider also mentioned two potential landing spots for Walker: a possible homecoming with the New York Knicks or teaming up a dynamic backcourt with Victor Oladipo and the up-and-coming Indiana Pacers.

Rich Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer however countered Bontemps’ proposal by providing a handful of reasons why the Hornets should keep their franchise player. Bonnell attacked the narrative on the micro level, saying the idea of trading Walker would not be a good PR move at all. “You take Walker off this roster, replacing him with young players or draft picks, and you are stretching a fan base’s patience that has already been tested beyond reasonable limits,” Bonnell stressed in his column. #Miami Heat Rumors