The spin applied to the John Kehriotis offer to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento with a privately financed Natomas arena in today's Bee story is interesting in what it applies. The Bee's dream team trio of arena writers got a source to reveal that Kehriotis has spoken to the Maloofs recently to offer up his deal as a back-up in the event the Seattle purchase goes south. The source also delivers a nasty little bit of spin which makes me question from where exactly this source comes from:
Any new offer, including one from the investor group being assembled by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, "would have to be a back-up offer to the definitive agreement between the Hansen-Ballmer group and the Maloofs," that source said.
"Definitive agreement?" I mean, this must have some legal meaning, but the framing on it has to be offensive to anyone working on or for the mayor's bid. Kevin Johnson is not putting together a back-up offer -- he's giving the Board of Governors a clear choice. I don't know exactly where this source comes from, but he seems to be a skeptic of KJ's plan. He could be a Maloof source, or it could be someone local who is just not on board with KJ's plan for whatever reason.
So in that way, this is almost framed as a stand-in for KJ's plan that comes with no public subsidy. That's certainly how Kevin McCarty of the Sacramento City Council wanted to frame it on Tuesday, and again in The Bee's story: as a cheaper alternative that keeps the Kings in Sacramento.
You'll notice that the mayor isn't talking about the Kehriotis plan. At all. I can tell you that the fear going around at least some circles is that this is a Trojan horse. I don't think that Kehriotis is either nefarious enough to play that game or dumb enough to be played. He's a smart, decent man, from everything I've heard. But there's a perception right now that his move is undermining KJ. And I, for one, would like to keep my eggs in that basket. If Kehriotis is truly providing just a back-up offer, it doesn't need to be a back-up for the Seattle move: it needs to be a back-up to the KJ plan. At that point it can actually help Sacramento as KJ makes his case to the Board of Governors. Right now, framed as a back-up to Chris Hansen's attempt to take our team, leaked to a councilman who has consistently voted against KJ's arena progress and spun in a way to discount KJ's plan -- it's not helping.
I hope in the next few days Kehriotis can see that and reframe this when he actually speaks to the press and city staff.