The NBA's Relocation Committee unanimously recommended that the NBA Board of Governors deny the application of the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Seattle.
It is a major victory for Sacramento in its bid to keep the Kings, and virtually guarantees that the team will remain in Sacramento.
The Board will meet the week of May 13 to vote on this matter. The Board, which consists of the league's owners, is not obligated to follow the Relocation Committee's recommendation. But, the Sacramento Bee reported that the committee's vote essentially blocks the impending sale to the Seattle group "likely ensuring that the team will stay put."
Mayor Kevin Johnson, who spearheaded the effort to keep the team in Sacramento, said on Twitter, according to the Bee, "That's what I'm talking about SACRAMENTO!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!"
Silicon Valley software executive Vivek Ranadive, who led the bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento, said via Twitter, "I'm speechless. Thanks to all of the amazing people who supported this great effort. We still have work to do but - #HereWeStay."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn issued a brief statement, according to the Seattle Times: "We're going to stay focused on our job: making sure Seattle remains in a position to get a team when the opportunity presents itself."
The Bee report states that the NBA's combined relocation and finance advisory committee, which is composed of 12 owners, voted down the Maloof family's proposed sale of the Kings to hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who planned to move the team to Seattle.
The Hansen-Ballmer group needs 23 of 30 owners' votes to get control of the team, and reports by both the Bee and the Seattle Times say the owners are unlikely to go against the committee's recommendation.
The vote came after a two-hour conference call among committee members.
Ballmer told Seattle radio talk show host Mitch Levy he is "horribly, horribly disappointed," according to the Bee. Ballmer told Levy he and his group will continue to talk with NBA commissioner David Stern to see if there is another step it can take.
The Maloofs agreed in January to sell their 65 percent share of the Kings to the Hansen group for $341 million. Hansen increased the offer to $357 million earlier this month.
A group of eight investors put together by Johnson and led by Ranadive submitted a proposal to keep the team in Sacramento. The deal matched Hansen's original offer of $341 million, according to a letter the Maloofs sent earlier this month to the NBA.
The 12 members of the Relocation andFinance committee making the recommendation are:Peter Holt, Spurs (chairman of the Board of Governors), Clay Bennett (Thunder), James Dolan (Knicks), Herb Simon (Pacers), Larry Tanenbaum (Raptors), Glen Taylor (Timberwolves), Jeanie Buss (Lakers), Robert Sarver (Suns), Greg Miller (Jazz), Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics), Ted Leonsis (Wizards) and Micky Arison (Heat).