Cousins is the most natural replacement for Okafor out there IMO.
Nerlens would be ideal but we're not going to pick high enough. Also, Nerlens would be thrust into a starting role his second year most likely, which isn't ideal.
We're going to take a hit no matter who replaces Okafor most likely. It's going to be hard to get somebody who matches his rebounding and defense. But it shouldn't be too hard to find someone who can upgrade his offense TBH. Cousins certainly would. But I'd be slightly concerned Cousins would play PF and kick Nene inside to C.
Another major problem with a Cousins trade is that replacing either Nene or Okafor with Cousins would basically bring the chemistry level way down and trade a stabilizing element for a destabilizing element.
I think that's a move that would need to happen in an offseason TBH, which means our draft pick will probably continue to depreciate in value. Cousins might just have to come through FA if he's going to come at all.
I think the Nene/Okafor is a highly effective and complimentary front court but a serious injury to either could be very problematic. I think Nene's skill boxing out allows Okafor's rebounding totals to balloon and Oak's defense really compliments Nene's ability to eat up space (though Oak has still been pretty effective when Nene isn't on the floor). As Wall and Beal grow as defenders and if we settle on a good player at SF, the defensive potential of the team is very good.
It makes all the sense in the world to keep Oak moving forward but his contract length and cost and his age are problems. Regardless, I think you keep him until next year's trade deadline at the earliest unless someone makes a really good offer for him. I think you also consider holding onto him through the deadline and either letting the 14-15 million expire off your books or maybe even try and get him back on a shorter term deal. It makes sense to me to let him expire here and use the money to make a bid for Cousins.
---------- Post added January-27th-2013 at 09:25 AM ----------
---------- Post added January-27th-2013 at 09:43 AM ----------
Wanted to throw out there that maybe dealing for an already big name like Cousins or whoever isn't the best choice. Dealing for a lesser name that still has good upside like Enes Kanter or Derrick Favors makes sense to me. Both have looked good in limited action and have lots of upside left. Is Utah going to let Al Jefferson just up and walk away? Seems crazy to me for them to do so. If they keep him long term, do they need both Kanter and Favors? I'd deal for either.