Raptors clap back at Knicks, float idea of countersuit amid lawsuit battle

New York Knicks, James Dolan
New York Knicks, James Dolan / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday in New York, the Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors for the second time this season, 136-130. That isn't the only thing that happened between the two organizations last night.

ESPN's Baxter Holmes reported that in a Monday night court filing, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment hinted at the possibility of a countersuit against the Knicks. MLSE's lawyers wrote that New York isn't serious about reaching a solution, or else MSG would've let the NBA handle the matter (subscription required).

"If the Knicks were genuinely concerned that there had been misuse of confidential and proprietary information, they would have accepted the Raptors’ invitation to cooperate with the Knicks in undertaking an immediate and thorough investigation of the Knicks’ allegations,” MLSE’s lawyers wrote. “And they would have sought immediate relief from the Commissioner — who could have ruled before the season even began — rather than mired themselves in lengthy judicial proceedings."

h/t The Athletic

This all began in August when the Knicks sued the Raptors, MLSE, Ikechukwu Azotam, Darko Rajakovic (head coach), and Noah Lewis (player development coach). New York claimed Azotam, who served as the Knicks' director of video, analytics, and player development assistant until this summer, "illegally took thousands of proprietary files with him to his new position with the Toronto Raptors."

Raptors hint at countersuit against Knicks in latest court filing update

In the court filing, MLSE wrote that the Knicks don't have a chance to win the legal battle.

"The Knicks’ aversion to his jurisdiction is simply because they know they will not like his determination,” MLSE wrote in its filing. “Although it is inevitable the Knicks’ claims will fail on the merits in any forum, this proceeding permits the Knicks to keep their allegations in the public media, causing harm to the Named Defendants.


h/t The Athletic

In a court filing in November, New York said it wants the court to handle the dispute rather than NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The Knicks used Silver's close relationship with Larry Tanenbaum, who's Toronto's minority owner and the NBA's Chairman of the Board of Governors, as a reason for why the dispute should be handled in court.

A spokesperson for MSG Sports said: "Hopefully the Court will make it clear that Toronto cannot escape the consequence of breaking the law by being a member of the NBA."

As much as the Raptors want this to end, the Knicks have dug their heels in the ground. Another layer will be added if Toronto countersues New York for its "defamatory public statements."

There's nothing like two division rivals going up against one another in court!