Portland Trail Blazers: Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith Can Fix the Blazers

Kristian WinfieldCorrespondent IIIMay 22, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 22:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy leads the Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on April 22, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Magic 101-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, rumors have spread of the Orlando Magic and head coach Stan Van Gundy possibly parting ways, in an effort to retain their superstar big man, Dwight Howard.

But little did we know, once Van Gundy got the boot, general manager Otis Smith would follow suit.

Now that the Orlando Magic have officially started a new chapter in their franchise legacy, what's to become of their ex-coach and GM?

Enter the Portland Trail Blazers.

Portland started the season off scorching hot, sitting atop the Western Conference with a 7-2 record. But after a midseason meltdown revolving around player-coach conflicts and a horrible mixture of talent, the Blazers fired head coach Nate McMillan and finished the season on the outside looking in, at 28-38.

The interim head coach, Kaleb Canales, has shown promise and has many of the Blazers, including team captain, LaMarcus Aldridge, on his side, but Portland would be absolutely foolish to pass up on an opportunity to bring in an established, easily Hall of Fame-bound coach like Stan Van Gundy.

Van Gundy is the most winningest coach in Orlando Magic history, claiming 259 victories in 394 games—a disgustingly good 65.7 win percentage. His statistical, analytical approach to the game, combined with his explosive personality pushes players for everything they've got, which is something the Trail Blazers so desperately need.

Portland's got an All-Star PF in Aldridge, who threatens the defense both on the low post and outside with his mid range jumper, two deadly shooters in Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum, as well as the explosive slashing guard, Elliot Williams.

Add in their two lottery picks in this year's upcoming draft and roughly $10 million in cap space for this offseason, and you've got a squad ready to explode come the regular season.

They just need the right leadership and guidance to get them there.

But the Blazers are lacking more than just a head coach.

In the 2011 NBA Draft, the Blazers drafted G Nolan Smith with the 21st pick, while the Denver Nuggets picked up Kenneth Faried at 22 and the Boson Celtics drafted and traded G MarShon Brooks at 25. Backtrack a couple more years and the Blazers snag Greg Oden with the first pick in the 2007 Draft, while the then-Seattle SuperSonics picked up three-time scoring champion, Kevin Durant.

The Blazers fired GM Rich Cho around this time last year and have had the interim label on Chad Buchannon ever since.

It's time they get someone in the front office who knows what they're doing.

Bringing both Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith to Portland would give the Blazers a front office force that would bring the right combination of talent together with a coach who can put the right game plan in place for them to win games.

It's time the Blazers picked up the scraps from last season and moves into a new direction, and signing Van Gundy and Smith wold be the absolute best move to make.


Kristian Winfield is a Featured Columnist on the Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter here.