The New York Knicks-Raptors Atlantic Division rival added a new layer over the summer. New York hired Ikechukwu Azotam in Nov. 2020 as an assistant video coordinator, and by the time he left the organization, he was a director of video/analytics/player development.
The 2022-23 season was Azotam’s last with the Knicks, as he’s now with the Raptors. New York alleges Azotam “illegally took thousands of proprietary files with him to his new position with the Toronto Raptors.”
On Monday, the Raptors issued a court filing in an effort to dismiss the lawsuit, referring to it as ‘baseless’ and a ‘public relations stunt.’
"In Monday’s filing, the Raptors’ lawyer writes, “The Knicks’ conduct from the outset of this dispute leaves no doubt that their goal has been to elicit negative press attention against the Named Defendants rather than the pursuit of valid claims.”"
Raptors seek to dismiss ‘baseless’ Knicks lawsuit, wants NBA to settle dispute
Toronto wants the league to settle the dispute because the lawsuit “has no business wasting judicial resources given the all-encompassing arbitration clause in the parties’ governing agreement.”
The Raptors are standing firm on their belief that they didn’t benefit from anything brought over from Azotam. Toronto’s lawyer wrote that the information from Azotam “involved little more than publicly available information compiled through public sources readily accessible to all NBA Members.”
A spokesperson from MSG Sports issued a statement in response to the Raptors’ court filing:
At Media Day, Masai Ujiri and new head coach Darko Rajakovic didn’t put a lot of stock in the lawsuit. Rajakovic commented on his character and said he “cannot wait for this lawsuit to be over.”
If the Raptors believe James Dolan’s Knicks will back down, they should think again. Even if the truth reflects negatively on Toronto, it’s hard to envision the organization being severely punished for it.