Toronto Raptors accused of stealing ideas from NBA team they always beat

Toronto Raptors release statement after accusatitons that they received proprietary files from former New York Knicks employee 

Recently, the Toronto Raptors got into some hot water after they were accused by another NBA team, the New York Knicks, of procuring sensitive information from them.

The accusations revolve around a former New York Knicks employee who is now working with the Toronto Raptors, with the lawsuit going after the team, their new head coach and the former Knicks staffer. The now Raptors worker was originally hired by the Knicks as a scouting employee with te lawsuit saying that they “conspired to steal thousands of videos and other scouting secrets over the past few weeks.” 

The lawsuit, which is being handled by the Manhattan federal court, claims that the Raptors gained access to several trade secrets, including their scouting and play frequency reports, along with a prep book and a link to valuable software. The Knicks claim that this information was downloaded “thousands of times” by Raptors employees.

“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 said.

According to the Knicks, the theft started soon after the Raptors hired someone they deemed a “mole” within the Knicks organization. The Lawsuit identifies this “mole” as Ikechukwu Azotam, who had been on the Knicks working on planning, organizing and distribution of all video scouting responsibilities for the team’s coaching staff since August of 2021. 

According to the lawsuit Azotam was recruited by the Toronto Raptors to help the teams new head coach to put together a new coaching and video operations team. Azotam then notified the New York Knicks in late July that he would be leaving the team, with his final day with them being on August 14. 

The Lawsuit states that Azotam began stealing confidential information in early August. The Lawsuit alleges that on August 11, Azotam sent “proprietary information with highly confidential material,” from his Knicks email to his new Raptors email. According to the lawsuit one email that Azotam sent to his Raptors account contained “an advanced scouting report of the Indiana Pacers players with team and player statistics, key plays and play frequency data, specific player tendencies and scouting, strategy analyses and other information.”

In response to these accusations the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the Raptors team themselves have released a joint statement on Aug. 22 about the suit. The statement says that the Raptors and MLSE have been aware of the accusations since Thursday of last week, being notified directly by the President of the New York Knicks. The statement also says that they have the “intention to conduct an internal investigation and fully cooperate” with the Knicks on said investigation. 

In the statement both the Raptors and MSLE deny any “involvment in the matters alleged,” and that both parties will refair from further comment on the matter until it has been rseolved “ to the satisfaction of both parties.” 

Originally posted 2023-08-22 18:29:01.


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