Chris Hansen still trying to find a way to buy Sacramento Kings

Rumblings persisted Thursday that Chris Hansen continues to work behind the scenes to keep hope alive of buying the Sacramento Kings.

In Sacramento, meanwhile, one of the main members of the investment group hoping to buy the team and keep it in that city said the group will be able to meet a Friday deadline to put 50 percent of the purchase offer into escrow.

KCRA3 in Sacramento quoted Chris Kelly, a former Facebook executive who helped bolster the investment group last month, as saying meeting the Friday deadline “is our goal and that is our expectation. We’ve been working on a variety of milestones and meeting a number of milestones, and putting money in escrow is one of them, and we’ll meet that deadline easily.”

Sacramento’s investment group has offered a reported $341 million for a 65 percent share of the team.

Sacramento’s effort to keep the Kings appeared to take a pivotal turn Monday when the NBA’s Relocation Committee voted 7-0 against allowing the team to move to Seattle.

But while some viewed the vote as ending the Seattle/Sacramento battle over the Kings, Hansen issued a statement late Monday night saying he would continue to explore options to continue the fight.

If Sacramento is unable to meet the Friday deadline for the escrow, that would further boost Hansen’s chances of making a comeback.

Still, two league sources said that regardless of whether Sacramento meets the escrow deadline that Hansen remains working feverishly behind closed doors in an attempt to see “the transaction through,” as he wrote Monday.

The Hansen-led group has offered $358 million for a 65 percent share of the Kings, a total valuation of $550 million that would be the most ever paid for an NBA team.

It remained unclear exactly what Hansen’s preferred course of action is. However, one league source reiterated that one option is for Hansen to still attempt to buy the Kings, even if they can’t be relocated. One source said Hansen might argue before the NBA Board of Governors — when it meets in New York on May 15 for a final vote on the matter — that he would agree to keep the team in Sacramento as long as the city came through with its plan to build a new arena. If it didn’t, Hansen would then be able to relocate the team to Seattle later.

Reports this week have reiterated that the current owners of the team, the Maloof family, prefer to sell the club to the Hansen group.