Some trade deadline, huh?
Welcome to Adam Silver's Revenge.
The soon-to-be Commish was front and center during the lockout, as the league insisted that its owners were losing their metaphorical shirts under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, and needed new mechanisms that would not only redistribute more revenues from the NBA's haves to its have nots, but would redistribute players as well. There would be no way for smaller markets to compete with their more well-heeled competitors if there was no disincentive to keep the big spenders from hoarding difference-making role players.
If the Lakers or Knicks not only could spend with impunity to acquire free agents or trade for superstars, but could also get a veteran or two for the stretch drive, went the argument, the league would never have any kind of competitive balance.
So, the league not only pushed for a 50-50 split of revenues with the players, but also pushed for more onerous luxury tax payments for teams that consistently stayed over the threshold. You couldn't keep teams with deep pockets from spending over the tax line, but you could make it hurt more in the wallet. And so came the "repeater tax," and the elimination of sign-and-trade deals starting next season for teams more than $4 million over the luxury tax line, which is at $70.3 million this season.
And, lo and behold, the biggest deal at the trade deadline in terms of names was Milwaukee -- small-market Milwaukee -- getting J.J. Redick from the Magic. (That's if you don't count the Rudy Gay deal to Toronto as a trade deadline deal, which it basically was. But even there, the major player in the three-team deal between Memphis, Detroit and Toronto wound up going north of the border, not to a high-profile outfit.)