NBA employees doubt seriousness of Raptors-Knicks lawsuit

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors found themselves in some hot legal water on Monday afternoon, as the New York Knicks sued the team. James Dolan is alleging that Ike Azotam, a former Knicks employee who joined the Raptors, took proprietary information from the front office.

The lawsuit alleges that head coach Darko Rajakovic instructed Azotam to take information that included prep books, play frequency reports, and video scouting files. Azotam reportedly was using his Knicks Synergy Sports login account to accomplish this. MLSE has denied any involvement.

While these accusations sound very damning in the light, some around the NBA are trying to cool things down and insist this lawsuit is a bit more frivolous than it originally appeared. According to one anonymous NBA employee, what Azotam did was more careless than nefarious.

“In the most advantageous possible case, [Azotam’s alleged activity] could be used to speed up the employee’s personal work,” one employee said, via Stephen Noh of Sporting News. “But unless the employee transitioned during the playoffs from one team to their opponent, there is no real benefit. [Sharing Synergy videos] is the equivalent to liking something on Twitter.”

Ex-NBA employees discuss Toronto Raptors lawsuit

Ace NBA analyst Steve Jones Jr., who worked in a similar position to Azotam during his time with the Nets and Grizzlies, called the suit “petty.” However, he did suggest that Azotam needed to be more diligent when he left the Knicks, saying that he was immediately asked for his computer when he left Brooklyn and Memphis.

Seth Partnow, who used to be the director of basketball research for the Milwaukee Bucks, said this is nothing out of the ordinary. Partnow implied that Azotam and the Raptors are being sued for doing “what every employee moving teams does.”

Partnow later added that “showing up with plenty of examples of past work is extremely commonplace,” even if it is not a universal practice. The issue of taking information from one team and transferring it to another might be more widespread than just Toronto.

Azotam and the Raptors should not have taken the information, and they will likely pay some slight penalties if they are found to have been in violation of any sort of rules. However, if these testimonies from former employees who have been in Azotam’s shoes are anything to go off, the problem is certainly not limited to one rogue Raptors employee causing chaos.

Next. 12 players the Raptors should not have gambled on. dark