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SEATTLE -- Sacramento Kings fans have begun an online petition in the hopes the NBA will award Seattle a new team while keeping the Kings where they are.

Numerous reports Wednesday indicated a deal is very close to sell the Kings for $500 million to investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. They would move them to KeyArena next season, then move into a proposed new arena in two years.

The big question mark is the Kings owners, the Maloof family. They have a history of making deals then pulling out at the last minute. The Maloofs have said they aren t responding to the rumors about the sale, but won t clarify what the truth is, either.

There are reports that there is division within the Maloof family over whether to sell the team.

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Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, said his goal is to find a local buyer to keep the team in Sacramento.

More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition asking NBA Commissioner David Stern, asking him to award Seattle an expansion franchise for the 2015-16 season.

Seattle deserves a team after what happened to their Sonics. Sacramento deserves to keep the Kings in Sacramento after supporting the franchise for more than a quarter century and putting together a viable arena financing plan last year, reads the petition.

The new Seattle arena is not a done deal. There is a lawsuit pending by the longshoreman s union, which has opposed the location near the current sports stadiums in the SODO neighborhood.

As part of the agreement with Seattle and King County, Hansen must secure an NBA franchise before construction can begin.

KING 5's Travis Pittman and Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report

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