Why Paul Allen and the Portland Trail Blazers Must Hire a GM by the End of May

David HathawayContributor IMay 26, 2012

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 21:  Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen celebrates  his team's 10th consecutive victory  during the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Rose Garden on December 21, 2007 in Portland, Oregon.  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 Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Paul Allen must hire a new General Manager before the end of May to provide the Trail Blazers organization with direction and continuity.

The Portland Trail Blazers are undoubtedly a team in transition. Following the mid-season firing of Nate McMillan and the trades of starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace, it seemed the team was embracing the possibilities of a fresh start.

But the longer the team remains without a permanent GM, the longer the club will remain in the NBA wilderness.

This summer provides an opportunity for the Blazers to bounce right back into contention in the Western Conference. With potentially two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, anywhere from $15-25 million in cap space—depending on the status of RFA Nicolas Batum—and a number of high-profile unemployed coaches looking for a new challenge, the team are in a position to move into a new era of Trail Blazer basketball.

But for that to happen, Allen must make a commitment, and hire a new GM before the end of May. Allen must invest in the new man's vision for the future and allow him time to build the team into a legitimate Western Conference threat—which isn't as far away as some would have you believe.

With the right management of picks and pieces, and anything close to the 2006 draft-day that yielded Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, this club will be back on track.

One thing is for certain, the Blazers can not enter the 2012 Draft and free agency with the interim title still attached to the incumbent GM, Chad Buchanan—and for that matter, the current Head Coach, Kaleb Canales.

If Allen believes that these two men should remain in their current roles, then OK, hire them on a permanent basis.

But If not, he must promptly bring in the new General Manager, and together make a play for Mike D'Antoni, Stan Van Gundy, or Jerry Sloan, before they attract job offers from other teams.

This summer doesn't have to be a complete rebuilding of the team from top to bottom, but instead a restructuring that can give the Trail Blazers the best opportunity for success.