Knicks respond to Raptors’ motion to dismiss lawsuit, say Adam Silver shouldn’t decide

The Knicks have responded to the Raptors’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit against them, with New York saying a court should determine the merit of the suit, not commissioner Adam Silver.New York Knicks logo

“We were the victim of a theft of proprietary and confidential files, which is a clear violation of criminal and civil law, and we remain confident that the Court will decide in our favor in this matter,” a statement from the Knicks read.

The Knicks filed a lawsuit against the Raptors in August, alleging that former Knicks employee Ikechukwu Azotam stole proprietary information and took it with him to Toronto. Azotam is now a video coordinator with the Raptors.

He is named in the lawsuit, as are Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic, development coach Noah Lewis and 10 John Does who have not yet been identified.

The Raptors issued a strong denial and asked a judge to dismiss the suit.

“MLSE and the Toronto Raptors received a letter from MSG on Thursday of last week bringing this complaint to our attention,” a statement from the organization read. “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.”

According to The Athletic, the suit alleged that “Azotam, the Knicks’ former director of video, analytics and player development, stole proprietary information — including ‘scouting reports, play frequency reports, a prep book and a link to third-party licensed software’ — and used it to help Rajakovic acclimate to his first head coaching job. The suit says that in July, around the time Azotam told the Knicks he had a job offer from Toronto, he started to forward information from his Knicks email account to his personal Gmail account.”

Raptors head of basketball operations Masai Ujiri downplayed the suit.

“I think there has been one time in the history of the NBA that a team has sued another team,” he said. “Go figure.”

In most instances, the commissioner would make the final call on if there is any merit to the suit. But the Knicks clearly believe the decision should be made by someone else.


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