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“We did it, baby,” said California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The Sacramento Democrat joined Johnson and Republican state Senator Ted Gaines at the rally in a show of bipartisan support.

Barbara “Sign Lady” Rust, as she has become known by Kings fans, waived a sign as Johnson spoke that read: “Love found a way, now here we stay!”

“You should have seen me a few hours ago,” she said. “I totally lost it. First I jumped like a crazy woman for a minute. Then I cried.”

Who will own the Kings next season is still unclear.

The Maloof family reached the agreement in January to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the team to Hansen’s group at a total franchise valuation of $525 million, topping the NBA-record $450 million that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Warriors for in 2010. Then Hansen increased his offer to $550 million, which implies buying the 65 percent stake for about $357 million.

Hansen hoped to move the team to Seattle and rebrand them the SuperSonics, who were relocated to Oklahoma City and renamed the Thunder in 2008. Those plans have suddenly seemed to crumble.

But Hansen insisted again that his group has a more solid arena plan, offered more money and “placed all of the funds to close the transaction into escrow.” At the bottom of the post on his website, Hansen attributed a quote to boxing great Muhammad Ali that ended with the famous line: “Impossible is nothing.”

The NBA Board of Governors is still expected to follow the recommendation by the seven-owner relocation committee, coincidentally headed by Thunder owner Clay Bennett, already a reviled figure in Seattle. The other owners on the committee are Miami’s Micky Arison, Washington’s Ted Leonsis, Utah’s Greg Miller, Indiana’s Herbert Simon, Minnesota’s Glen Taylor and San Antonio’s Peter Holt _ who’s also the chairman of the board.

Even still, the Maloofs are not bound to sell the team to the Sacramento group _ and the threat of lawsuits always looms. Johnson said he was unsure what the next step is in the process or whether the NBA would _ or could _ take a role in streamlining the team’s sale.

In a letter sent to the relocation and finance committees during its April 17 meeting, the Maloofs said they preferred to sell to the Seattle group and expressed discontent with Sacramento’s latest bid, saying it falls “significantly short.” Stern has said the offers are in “the same ballpark.”

The commissioner also said the relocation committee felt leaving Sacramento just didn’t make sense. He also reiterated his long-held stance that expansion is unlikely at this time.

“As strong as the Seattle bid was, and it was very strong, there’s some benefit that should be given to a city that has supported us for so long and has stepped up to contribute to build a new building as well,” Stern said on NBA-TV.

A Spokesman for the Maloof family declined to comment on the committee’s recommendation. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn pledged that his city will continue to fight for an NBA team.

“I’m proud of how Sonics fans have rallied together to help Seattle get a team,” McGinn said in a statement. “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 potential Sacramento ownership group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm. Johnson has touted the group as a “California team” with members from all over the country’s most populated state.

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