According to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the New York Knicks have filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Raptors and Ikechukwu Azotam. In the lawsuit, the Knicks allege that Azotam, a former employee, took secrets and documents related to scouting when he changed jobs to work with the Raptors.
Specifically, the lawsuit, alleges that Azotam gave thousands of files that involved "play frequency reports, a prep book for the 2022-23 season", video scouting files, opposition research, and more to the Raptors. The lawsuit alleges that he had access to this information over the last three years while he was working as a video coordinator. He was then hired by the Raptors in a similar role. In his last days with the Knicks, he allegedly sent out over 3,000 video files to his new employers.
In the suit, it alleges that Azotam stole Knicks' scouting files on other teams and gave them to the Raptors. Allegedly, he stole third-party software and other scouting tools and gave them to Toronto. Presumably, they would use this information on other opponents and restructure/rebuild their basketball operations department.
Knicks suing Raptors: What is the impact on the rest of the NBA?
This creates an awkward moment for the league as two of their major shareholders are now suing each other in civil court. This lawsuit will most likely end up taking a couple of years as many of these cases often do. In all likelihood, the league will look to reach a settlement before the two sides go deep into court.
In the past, this type of court action has happened between two major parties in the league. Still, it has usually never gotten to the point where the federal/state/local courts will have to step in and take charge of the case. Usually, when this happens, the league ends up taking charge of it. They are able to do this behind the scenes when some kind of settlement between the two parties.