The Boston Celtics have massively changed their reputation around the NBA.
Once known as a team which can't land marquee free agents, the Celtics have landed Al Horford and Gordon Hayward in consecutive seasons. That seems to support an ESPN poll, which ranks the Celtics as the top recruiting team in the NBA.
Here's what ESPN.com wrote on the poll where they quizzed 48 anonymous players.
Which team have you heard makes the best free-agent pitches?
Celtics: 27 percent
Heat: 15 percent
Lakers: 12 percent
Warriors: 9 percent
Other: 37 percent
Others gaining votes: Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Knicks, Mavericks, Pacers, Rockets, Spurs, Wizards
The Celtics prepared a thorough pitch for Kevin Duran before he joined the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 offseason. The pitch included an appearance from Tom Brady. While Durant didn't pick Boston, he praised the team.
"I met with them and they were really good, and I was really impressed by it," Durant said in Nov. 2016, via ESPN.
He wasn't the only one who appreciated the Celtics' pitches.
"Boston [has the best]. If you bring Tom Brady? That's pretty damn cool," an Eastern Conference guard told ESPN.
MORE BOSTON SPORTS:
1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.
5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.
11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.
The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.
During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.
While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.
“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”
But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.
“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”