Everything You Need to Know About the Knicks Lawsuit Against the Raptors

The Knicks have filed a lawsuit against the Raptors and their parent company, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (MLSE), claiming they stole proprietary information that a former employee took with him when he left for his new job at Toronto.

“MLSE and the Toronto Raptors received a letter from MSG on Thursday of last week bringing this complaint to our attention,” MLSE said in a statement. “MLSE responded promptly, making clear our intention to conduct an internal investigation and to fully cooperate. MLSE has not been advised that a lawsuit was being filed or has been filed following its correspondence with MSG. The company strongly denies any involvement in the matters alleged. MLSE and the Toronto Raptors will reserve further comment until this matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.”

New York filed the lawsuit on Monday and named 14 defendants including the Raptors team, MLSE, new Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković, Raptors player development coach Noah Lewis, ten unnamed people and of course, the alleged disgrace former employee named Ikechukwu Azotam.

Azotam took a job with the Raptors this month, according to the lawsuit and New York allege that new coach Rajaković “recruited and used” Azotam to help him build his coaching team and gather the materials for it.

“To assist this novice coach in doing his job, Defendant Rajaković and the other Raptors Defendants conspired to use Azotam’s position as a current Knicks insider to funnel proprietary information to the Raptors to help them organize, plan, and structure the new coaching and video operations staff,” the lawsuit reads, according to legal filings The Athletic uncovered Monday.

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A spokesperson for Madison Square Garden Sports described the information that was taken in a statement obtained by Sports New York’s Ian Begley.

“These files include confidential information such as play frequency reports, a prep book for the 2022-23 season, video scouting files and materials and more. Given the clear violation of our employment agreement, criminal and civil law, we were left no choice but to take this action,” the spokesperson said.

The suit says Azotam told NY he had a job offer from Toronto in July, which happened to be around the same time he began to forward information from his Knicks email to his personal Gmail and then sharing them with the defendants.

The suit claims that Azotam misused his account and access to Knicks’ Synergy Sports to create as well as transfer more than 3,000 files with video and data.

The Knicks discovered the transfer on August 15 and saw that the files were accessed over 2,000 times by the defendants.

Azotam worked for the Knicks as an assistant video coordinator and then as a director of video/analytics/player development assistant from 2020-23 then was allegedly recruited by Toronto around June / July of 2023, Begley reports. 

There will be more to come on this so stay tuned.

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