Knicks seek $10 mn from Raptors and don't want Silver deciding: reports

The <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New York Knicks;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New York Knicks</a> said in a court filing they do not want NBA commissioner Adam Silver to arbitrate their dispute with the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Toronto Raptors;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Toronto Raptors</a> over confidential files (ELSA)

The New York Knicks are suing the rival Toronto Raptors for more than $10 million over theft of confidential files and don't want NBA commissioner Adam Silver arbitrating the matter.

That's what a legal filing by the Knicks obtained on Monday by the New York Post, The Athletic and ESPN said, the Knicks responding to an October request by the Raptors to dismiss the suit, filed in US District Court in New York in August.

The Knicks claim Ike Azotam, who served as a Knicks assistant video coordinator from 2020-2023, sent the Raptors thousands of confidential files about the Knicks.

Other defendants in the case include Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic, assistant coaches Noah Lewis and Azotam, several unknown Raptors employees and Raptors parent company Maple Leaf Sport & Entertainment (MLSE).

The Raptors have said the lawsuit should be dropped as baseless and a "public relations stunt" and the dispute should be decided by Silver under NBA rules, which would limit any damage award by Silver to $10 million.

The Knicks say they seek more than $10 million in damages and question whether Silver should be able to handle the matter because he has a close relationship with Raptors owner Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the NBA Board of Governors.

"Tanenbaum serves as Silver's boss and exercises control over and heavily influences Silver's continued employment and salary," the Knicks filing said, saying the two have a "close relationship."

"Among other things, Tanenbaum has been described as 'a close ally of commissioner Adam Silver.' Silver himself described Tanenbaum as 'not just my boss as the chairman of the board of governors, but he's very much a role model in my life.'

"If Silver were to preside over the instant dispute he would be arbitrating a case for his boss and ally."