Knicks File Lawsuit Against Raptors: Alleging Use of Former Employee as ‘Spy’

Knicks File Lawsuit Against Raptors: Alleging Use of Former Employee as 'Spy'

The New York Knicks file Lawsuit Against Raptors, their newly appointed head coach, and a former Knicks scouting staff member. The Knicks claim that the defendants collaborated to pilfer numerous videos and confidential scouting insights in recent weeks.

The Knicks File Lawsuit Against Raptors, filed in a federal court in Manhattan, seeks unspecified compensation and a prohibition on further dissemination of the Knicks’ confidential information. The lawsuit contends that these secrets, including scouting reports and gameplay analysis, along with a preparatory handbook and valuable software link, were allegedly downloaded multiple times by Raptors personnel.

“This material consists of secret, proprietary information critical to the Knicks’ efforts to maintain a competitive advantage over their rivals, including the Raptors,” the lawsuit stated.

The Knicks file lawsuit against Raptors alleging that the theft took place in recent weeks after the Raptors recruited “a spy” from within the Knicks organization. The individual in question was identified as Ikechukwu Azotam, who, since August 2021, had overseen the planning, coordination, and distribution of all video scouting responsibilities for the Knicks coaching staff.

The Knicks point to Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic, hired in June, as well as player development coach Noah Lewis, the Raptors’ parent company Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Limited, and ten unidentified Raptors employees claiming they obtained proprietary information and allegedly instructed Azotam to misuse his access to Knicks’ information.

In a statement, “MLSE responded promptly, making clear our intention to conduct an internal investigation and to fully cooperate,” the statement said. “MLSE and the Toronto Raptors will reserve further comment until this matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.”

Azotam’s email address listed in the lawsuit with the Raptors was not accepting emails.

According to Madison Square Garden Sports, the Knicks took legal action because Azotam reportedly took thousands of confidential files with him to his new role with the Raptors, including a handbook for the 2022-2023 season.

Hired as an assistant video coordinator in October 2020, Azotam was later promoted to the role of director of video analytics/player development assistant. In June, the Raptors began to recruit Azotam to assist their new head coach in building a new coaching and video operations team.

Azotam informed the Knicks of his departure in late July, with his last day being August 14. The Knicks’ security team discovered the theft last Tuesday. The lawsuit states that Azotam started unlawfully converting and misappropriating the Knicks’ confidential data in early August.

The Knicks file lawsuit against Raptors also details that Azotam sent two emails from his Knicks email address to his new Raptors email address on August 11, containing “proprietary information with highly confidential content.” One email contained an advanced scouting report for the Indiana Pacers, while the second included a similar report for the Denver Nuggets.

The lawsuit alleges that Azotam passed along a play frequency report for the Dallas Mavericks and other information the Knicks had used for preparation.

The lawsuit further claims that Raptors employees instructed Azotam to misuse his access to a Knicks subscription service to Synergy Sports, creating and transferring over 3,000 files comprising video information and data, including 3,358 video files. Raptors employees accessed the stolen files over 2,000 times, the lawsuit states.

“The Knicks have been harmed by this theft and will continue to be harmed if this misconduct is not enjoined by this Court,” the lawsuit concluded.


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