Raptors insider projects minor penalty for franchise due to Knicks lawsuit

Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors won’t suit up in a game against the New York Knicks for quite some time, but they have already found themselves tangled up in a complicated legal web in the offseason. James Dolan is alleging that former Knicks employee Ike Azotam is a thief.

According to a lawsuit filed against the Raptors, the Knicks are alleging that Aztoman sent thousands of proprietary files, including prep books and video scouting tools, to the Raptors after he left New York to join Toronto in the offseason. MLSE has already issued a statement denying any involvement in the case.

The last few days have led to wild speculation about how complex this scheme was, head coach Darko Rajakovic’s involvement in perpetrating said scheme, and the degree of responsibility Toronto was to bear if this was proven in court. Some Raptors insiders, however, don’t think this is too alarming.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet said that he doesn’t envision this process actually going to court. As far as penalties from the NBA are concerned, Grange believes that Toronto will likely get smacked with a six-figure fine and could lose a second-round pick for their transgressions.

Toronto Raptors lawsuit: Insider projects minor penalties for team

The Knicks claim that Azotam had a confidentiality clause in his contract that prevented the sharing of such information with other teams. They also allege that Azotam used a Knicks Synergy Sports login to acquire and transmit the information to Toronto.

At the risk of sounding like an armchair lawyer, intent might be what ultimately ends up deciding the penalties for this case. If the Raptors were shown to have taken the initiative and directed Azotam to take the information in question, that could lead to more problems.

Toronto fans shouldn’t expect too seismic a penalty, as many who have worked around the league in similar capacities to Azotam have said that such information pilfering is commonplace. However, they also said Azotam should have been more careful and diligent when switching companies.

The Raptors will likely get dinged for something, as the fact this lawsuit has even materialized speaks to a slight lack of institutional control. However, if Grange’s intuition is proven correct, Toronto may not get a penalty that severely impacts their ability to do business.

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