Unicaja Malaga announced on Monday that Joan Plaza will no longer coach the team after five consecutive seasons working together, highlighted by their 7DAYS EuroCup title in 2017. Plaza, 54, joined Unicaja before the start of the 2013-14 season, a few weeks after winning the Lithuanian League title with Zalgiris Kaunas. In his four Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons with the club, Plaza led Unicaja to a 43-59 record. In Plaza's only season with Unicaja outside the EuroLeague, he led the team to win the 2016-17 7DAYS EuroCup title, downing Valencia Basket in the finals. Despite not having the home-court advantage in any of its three playoffs series, Plaza led Unicaja to its first title of any kind in more than a decade and its first continental trophy since 2001. Plaza started his coaching career with Joventut Badalona's youth teams, joining Real Madrid's coaching staff in 2005. He was promoted to head coach before the start of the 2006-07 season, in which he won both the EuroCup and Spanish League titles. He also coached Cajasol Seville, leading it to the EuroCup title game in 2011, losing against UNICS Kazan. Plaza is one of three coaches – along with Rimas Kurtinaitis and Evgeny Pashutin – to win multiple EuroCup titles. Plaza leaves Malaga after coaching 325 games, more than anyone in club history.
"After thinking it through, we have decided that Joan Plaza's cycle leading Unicaja has completed at the end of his fifth season with us. We have to acknowledge the importance of what Joan Plaza did during the time that he was with us and want to thank him for his daily work, hard and intense, to give our club as estability that paid off when a new title was added to our roll of honors, last season's EuroCup," Unicaja president Eduardo Garcia said. "Of course, I want to wish Joan Plaza great success in his new professional destination and all the best personally. He set the grounds of a work well done and want to start a new project which consolidates our club and thrills our fans."