May 20, 2024

Updates on the Knicks’ Raptors lawsuit

Owner James Dolan and the Knicks filed a lawsuit against the Raptors, demanding more than $10MM in damages for a matter that the NBA would normally arbitrate, after he resigned from his positions on the Board of Governors committee.

Because of his friendship with Raptors chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Tanenbaum’s role as chairman of the Board of Governors, the suit accuses commissioner Adam Silver of bias and claims that a former team employee illegally took “confidential” files with him to his new position in Toronto.

In-depth reporting for ESPN reveals that Dolan and Raptors president Masai Ujiri have a long history together. Carmelo Anthony was traded to New York in 2011, when Ujiri was Denver’s head basketball executive. Dolan was later criticized for losing out on a player who desired to sign a free agent contract with the Knicks.

A few years later, while still managing the Raptors, Ujiri made another historic trade with the Knicks, sending Andrea Bargnani to New York in exchange for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, and several first-round picks, as Holmes points out. Bargnani spent just two seasons with New York, playing in 71 games.

According to The New York Daily News, Dolan “didn’t want to get fleeced again by Masai” when he reportedly canceled a trade that would have sent Kyle Lowry to the Knicks that same year, 2013.

A few years ago, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that Dolan considered Ujiri as his “dream candidate” to lead the Knicks. However, in 2021, Ujiri signed a long-term contract extension with the Raptors.

According to Holmes, legal professionals, analytics employees, and rival executives are all dubious of the Knicks’ allegations and “generally dismissive” of the ongoing lawsuit.

Robert Boland, a sports law professor at Seton Hall University Law School and practitioner specializing in sports labor and governance matters, stated that if privacy and the loss of proprietary information were concerns, the last place one would pursue those issues would be in a court proceeding seeking only monetary damages.

In this case, you will need to demonstrate your damages and inform the court and the public at large of what was taken from you and its estimated value. More of that leaks to the public, which suggests the Knicks are probably not concerned. I assume all of this information will be outdated by the time the court hearings conclude. I’m not sure if it’s still relevant or if the topic is proprietary.

Holmes continues, “Executives specifically mentioned Dolan’s “litigious reputation.”

An Eastern Conference executive told ESPN, “I think this is a complete middle finger from Dolan to Larry Tanenbaum— and I think it’s nothing more than that.”

Holmes states that on December 11, the Raptors are anticipated to submit a reply to the Knicks’ most recent submission. One of the legal professionals Holmes spoke with, Boland, is uncertain about what will occur next.

Boland, an acknowledged Knicks fan, stated, “I don’t see a settlement in this case, but I don’t know if the Knicks are going to win.” “I really don’t see a well-defined plan. The attention, in my opinion, is the intended result.

The lawsuit also names Darko Rajakovic, the head coach of the Raptors. According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post, he defended himself once more in the face of the accusations and expressed excitement for the case’s resolution.

“From the start, the support was excellent since we discussed it and clarified what did and did not occur. Rajakovic declared, “I know who I am, I know my integrity, and I know who I represent.” “I stand for a truly remarkable organization, as well as the players and front office staff. I can’t wait for this to all be resolved and for everyone to learn the truth. There is nothing to be concerned about.


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