The New York Knicks are seeking over $10 million (U.S.) in damages from the Toronto Raptors, according to new court documents filed Monday.
This comes after the Knicks and owner Madison Square Garden Sports filed a lawsuit in August against the Raptors, accusing the organization of stealing thousands of confidential files. In its response on Oct. 16, the Raptors called the allegations “baseless.”
In their filing on Monday to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Knicks also argued the court, and not NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, should preside over the dispute.
While the NBA’s constitution says that the commissioner has “exclusive, full, complete, and final jurisdiction” over disputes involving two or more members of the league, the Knicks are arguing that Silver should not be an arbitrator due to his close relationship with Larry Tanenbaum, co-owner of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), and called the designation “unconscionable” and “unfair.”
The Knicks are asking the court to void the arbitration agreement and assume jurisdiction of the case.
The court document further argues that in Tanenbaum’s role as chairman of the NBA Board of Governors, he “exercises control over and heavily influences Silver’s continued employment and salary,” and that the commissioner himself has described the MLSE co-owner as “not just my boss as the chairman of the board of governors, but he’s very much a role model in my life.”
In their August lawsuit, the Knicks originally alleged that Ikechukwu Azotam, who worked as a director of video/analytics/player development for the club from 2020 until 2023, was recruited by Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic and others in the organization to funnel “intricate knowledge of the Knicks’ scouting and video operations.