The long lasting rumours of Joan Plaza’s departure from Kaunas were officially confirmed today in a press conference. Zalgiris was unable to offer a contract that would keep the Spaniard for at least one more season.
The shrinking budget of Lithuanian champions means that the club will part ways with its leading players and will turn to its youth program to fill a significant part of its roster.
Plaza, the first Spanish coach in Lithuania, spent his first season coaching a club outside Spain and instantly became a fans’ favourite. He expressed pride and gratitude to his players for not giving up when the team was hit by financial troubles.
The Barcelona-born coach who won the Spanish ACB league with Real Madrid, is strongly linked with Unicaja and is also expected to bring two players from the current Zalgiris roster – Marko Popovic and Mindaugas Kuzminskas who became one of the key players for Zalgiris under Plaza.
Despite winning just one title (Lithuanian Basketball League), Zalgiris had one of the best seasons in its history in terms of quality of the game before the team began losing its players due to financial difficulties.
Zalgiris topped Group C in Euroleague regular season with an 8-2 record, including impressive road wins against the champions Olympiacos, Anadolu Efes and Caja Laboral.