Report: Knicks suing Raptors over allegedly stolen scouting reports, other proprietary information

The Knicks are alleging that a former employee took thousands of files with him to his new position with the Raptors.

The New York Knicks have sued the Toronto Raptors and several members of their organization, including a former Knicks employee, for allegedly stealing proprietary information, according to Ian Begley of SNY.

The Knicks filed the lawsuit on Monday, alleging that ex-Knicks employee Ikechukwu Azotam “illegally took thousands of proprietary files with him to his new position” with the Raptors.

According to the report, the material taken includes a prep book for the 2022-23 season, play frequency reports, and video scouting files.

The Knicks have a bone to pick with the Raptors. (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
The Knicks have a bone to pick with the Raptors. (Photo by Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Per Begley, the lawsuit alleges that Azotam “illegally procured” the information by sharing it with members of the Raptors organization, including new head coach Darko Rajakovic and player development coach Noah Lewis.

Per SNY, the Knicks reached out to the NBA and the Raptors before filing the lawsuit. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the Raptors' parent company, released a statement on Monday saying it intends to conduct an internal investigation and fully cooperate. MLSE "strongly denies" any involvement in the matter.

According to the lawsuit, Azotam, who worked for the Knicks as an assistant video coordinator and then as a director of video/analytics/player development from 2020-23, was recruited to work for the Raptors in or around June of this year. With Rajakovic serving as a first-time head coach, the lawsuit claims the Raptors “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.”

Azotam reportedly informed the Knicks of an offer to join the Raptors organization last month, and at that time, he allegedly began “secretly forwarding proprietary information from his Knicks email account to his personal Gmail account, which he then shared with the Raptors Defendants."

The lawsuit also alleges that other Raptors employees "directed Azotam to misuse his access to the Knicks' subscription to Synergy Sports to create and then transfer to the Raptors Defendants over 3,000 files consisting of film information and data."

The Raptors are scheduled to face the Knicks on Dec. 1 in the first of four meetings between the division rivals this season.