Were the Raptors Dumb Enough to Steal Inside Intel From the Knicks?

A new lawsuit alleges an ex-Knicks employee took proprietary info to Toronto

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According to a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages that was filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday, the Toronto Raptors were allegedly dumb enough to steal the scouting secrets of the New York Knicks, per Reuters.

According to the court filing, the Raptors, who last won the NBA title in 2019, poached a former New York scouting employee, referred to as a “mole” at times, and had him bring inside information from the Knicks, who last won a title in 1973, to Toronto. That information allegedly included thousands of video files in addition to “scouting reports, play frequency reports, a prep book and a link to third-party licensed software.”

The “secret, proprietary information” is “critical to the Knicks’ efforts to maintain a competitive advantage over their rivals, including the Raptors,” the lawsuit says. “The Knicks have been harmed by this theft and will continue to be harmed if this misconduct is not enjoined by this Court.”

In addition to naming former Knicks employee Ikechukwu Azotam, the lawsuit also names new Raptors head coach Darko Rajaković, Raptors player development coach Noah Lewis, the team and its parent company, MLSE. Rajaković, who was previously an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, was hired to coach the Raptors in June.

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“To assist this novice coach in doing his job, Defendant Rajaković and the other Raptors Defendants conspired to use Azotam’s position as a current Knicks insider to funnel proprietary information to the Raptors to help them organize, plan, and structure the new coaching and video operations staff,” the lawsuit reads, according to legal filings obtained by The Athletic

If Rajaković and members of his staff were foolish enough to take proprietary information from the Knicks with the goal of helping themselves in Toronto, they should all be fired immediately for stupidity, not a lack of morality. In the last 10 seasons, the Knicks have won a single playoff series. In that same span, the Raptors have won a playoff series nine times, including the aforementioned victory in the 2019 NBA Finals. If the Raptors are actually trying to capture the Knicks, that would be a big, big mistake.

“The company strongly denies any involvement in the matters alleged,” MLSE said in a statement. “MLSE and the Toronto Raptors will reserve further comment until this matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.”

If the allegations are true, perhaps the Raptors should sue the Knicks over the quality of the information they took.

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