The Brooklyn Nets have made a bold gambit to shift the epicenter of New York City basketball—perhaps even of the entire NBA—to Kings County. Two of the league's best players, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, are joining the team.

The deals are huge: Durant would be signed to a four-year deal for $164 million, while Irving would be getting $141 million for four years.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news about Durant, 30, ahead of when the free agency period—when teams can speaks to players whose contracts have expired—officially began at 6 p.m.

Durant, possibly the best player in the league, confirmed that he was leaving the Golden State Warriors, where he won two NBA Championships (and was twice named the MVP during the finals) with a message on the Instagram for his sports-focused company, The Boardroom—with a song from the Notorious B.I.G.:

While he was eyed as a sought-after free agent, Durant suffered injuries during the Warriors playoff run this past season: He strained his calf while playing against the Houston Rockets in Western Conference Finals, and then ruptured his Achilles tendon during the Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Given his recovery, Durant could be out for the entire 2019-2020 season, throwing into question whether teams would want to bet on him.

Irving, 27, a free agent from the Boston Celtics, was rumored to be interested in joining the Nets for weeks. His tenure in Boston went sour, and Irving even "apologized" to LeBron James for his behavior when they were Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, signaling a possibility of a reunion by joining him at the Lakers. But Irving, a New Jersey native who was a fan of the franchise when they were in East Rutherford, decided to head to the Nets:

Even with Durant out for a season, the Nets are reshaped and can be a real contender for a championship. This news has thrilled Nets fans, who often feel outnumbered by fans from the visiting team at Barclays Center home games—and sent Knicks fans deeper into a spiral of self-pity, after various claims that K.D. would play at Madison Square Garden, Critics are enjoying this moment of schadenfreude:

Many onlookers and analysts are blaming Knicks owner James Dolan for creating a dysfunctional team culture that cannot attract top talent. He promised that the Knicks would be "successful" in making big signings in March:

The Knicks spin machine appeared to be in full drive, telling reporters that the Knicks were wary of signing Durant because of his Achilles injury:

Other possibilities why Brooklyn may have been more attractive: When you play for the Knicks, you practice in Westchester, while the Brooklyn Nets have a new state-of-the-art practice facility in Industry City—meaning players can live in the city. Nets majority owner, Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, sold 49% of the team to Chinese billionaire Joseph Tsai, and it's believed that Tsai will eventually acquire the majority stake—offering players a way to access the Chinese market.