NEW ORLEANS -- In an attempt to secure help for All-Star forward Paul George, the Indiana Pacers have made their 2017 first-round pick available in a trade, league sources said.
In what is considered to be a deep draft, the Pacers are hoping that such an asset would translate to the addition of either an established wing or an established frontline player, according to sources.
There is hesitancy within the organization to relinquish the precious pick, but the Pacers (29-28) have lost six in a row (only the nine-win Nets currently have a longer losing streak, at 14 games). The Pacers are also only two games from dropping into the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
George can opt out of his contract at the end of the 2017-18 season. The Pacers have a small window to provide him with a championship-type supporting cast.
Whether he signs an extension this summer probably will be predicated on the moves the franchise can execute up to that point.
George is fixated on bringing a title to Indiana. On numerous occasions, including Friday, he has voiced his desire to be a revered Pacers figure.
"I wanted to be the first and want to be the first to be able to bring a championship to Indiana," George told ESPN Radio on Friday morning. "So that's still on my mind ... and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana."
The Pacers were supposed to take the next step up and challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers after acquiring point guard Jeff Teague and power forward Thaddeus Young via separate trades last offseason, but that hasn't been the case.
Teague started the season slowly but has found a balance. Young has sat out the past eight games with a wrist injury, although he's expected to return to the lineup after the All-Star break.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.