Knicks seek $10 million from Raptors in lawsuit alleging a “mole” stole proprietary information


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In a lawsuit that has most of the NBA shaking its head and saying “Only Dolan,” it was revealed Monday that the New York Knicks are seeking $10 million in damages from the Toronto Raptors for the alleged “theft of trade secrets” from the Knicks and the New York coaching staff.

The lawsuit was filed in August, and the Raptors filed a response in October asking the judge to dismiss the case, saying league bylaws require NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to arbitrate the dispute. Monday the Knicks filed their response to the Raptors filing, putting a $10 million figure on their damages, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

There are a lot of moving parts here, let’s break it all down from the beginning, with some thoughts on the entire process mixed in.

• The Knicks filed a lawsuit against the Raptors in August alleging that Ikechukwu Azotam — who by the end of his three years with New York was the director of video/analytics/player development assistant — sent the Raptors organization and rookie head coach Darko Rajakovic more than 3,000 confidential, proprietary files including video scouting files and play frequency numbers, before Azotam joined the Raptors last summer. The argument the Knicks made was, in part, that Rajakovic didn’t have the depth of background and didn’t know how to build a team structure, so he stole the Knicks (despite Rajakovic having coached in Serbia, having been head coach of the Tulsa 66ers of the G-League, and being an assistant known for player development with the Thunder, Suns and Grizzlies).

• The reaction around the league — and from people who have done Azotam’s job with other teams and spoke with NBC Sports — could be boiled down to eye rolls and “only James Dolan” (the Knicks owner is notoriously litigious). While the information was moved in a rather awkward fashion (through Dropbox) it was not seen as anything crazy or outside how things typically operate around the league.

• As ESPN’s Holmes notes, Toronto’s first response was to email the NBA’s general council and point to the NBA’s constitution, Article 24, bylaw…

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Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2023-11-21 15:54:08

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