A committee of NBA owners voted unanimously today to block the pending sale and relocation of the Sacramento Kings, likely ensuring that the team will stay put.

The NBA confirmed that its combined relocation and finance advisory committee, 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 full Board of Governors isn't expected to vote on the Kings until around May 13, but the committee's recommendation will surely be influential. The Hansen-Ballmer group needs 23 of 30 owners' votes to get control of the team.

Today's vote followed a two-hour conference call by committee members - and came after months of unprecedented arm wrestling over the lowly Kings. The Maloofs agreed in January to sell their 65 percent share to the Hansen group for $341 million. Hansen upped the offer to $357 million earlier this month.