Outrage over racist comments purportedly made by embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling hit a crescendo Monday, with corporations pulling their sponsorship deals with the team and coach Doc Rivers saying he believes "a very strong message" is coming from the NBA in response to the scandal.
That message will come Tuesday, when NBA commissioner Adam Silver holds a news conference in New York where he could reveal sanctions the league will impose on Sterling.
A suspension of indefinite length and hefty fine -- Silver can issue one of up to $1 million without approval of owners -- are possible options. However, it remains unclear how far Silver's powers can reach at this point, even though the NBA constitution gives the commissioner's office a lot of latitude to protect the game's best interest.
Many players simply want Sterling ousted, with Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeting he "should not continue owning the clippers."
"It needs to be handled in the right way," Rivers said. "I don't even know what the right way is. I have a hunch. But I don't know."
Detroit Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups, during an interview on ESPN Radio, said there is no way he would have played in Sunday's Game 4 against the Warriors.
"It's more than basketball," the former Clipper said. "It's bigger than Game 3 or Game 4 or Game 5 of a first-round series.
"Yeah, that's what you play for and you're working for that, but, to be honest, if it wasn't for what my grandparents and their parents and their parents went through to make it easier for us to attain these kinds of jobs and be successful in life, I'm probably not here having this kind of success and doing what I'm doing.
"So I would rather, to be honest with you, take a stand and my teammates be mad with me than have to face my grandparents and my parents and people like that when I have the opportunity to do what was right."
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called Sterling's purported comments "abhorrent" while saying he didn't think the NBA could force him out as owner of the Clippers.
Speaking in Dallas' locker room before Game 4 of a first-round series against San Antonio on Monday night, Cuban said he trusted Silver to "operate under the best interest of the NBA."
Cuban said it was a "slippery slope" to suggest that Sterling should be forced out as owner over comments made in the privacy of his home.
Cuban said that while there was "no place" in the league for racism, he wondered how other forms of discrimination would be handled.
The Clippers had Monday off, with Rivers saying he wanted his team to try to regroup mentally after a whirlwind weekend where Sterling's alleged comments were revealed, first by TMZ and then in another recording posted on Deadspin. The NBA has not said if it was able to authenticate the tapes, but Sterling's wife told KABC-TV in Los Angeles that it was her husband on the recordings.
Rivers, who has declined a chance to speak with his boss, believes Sterling is on the tape.
"I can't tell you how upset I am," Rivers said.
Rivers' team will host the Warriors -- about 8½ hours after Silver is scheduled to speak -- in Game 5 of the teams' Western Conference first-round series, knotted now at two games apiece.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are already taking hits in other ways over Sterling's alleged comments.
CarMax and Virgin America announced they are ending their sponsorships of the team, and Kia Motors America plans to suspend its advertising and sponsorship activities with the franchise. Insurer State Farm said it "will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization," though the popular ad campaign featuring Clippers guard Chris Paul will continue, as will the company's initiatives with the NBA.
Los Angeles-based AQUAhydrate -- launched by rap mogul Sean "P Diddy" Combs and actor Mark Wahlberg -- also said it was suspending its sponsorship "in the wake of Sterling's alleged intolerable comments ... until the NBA completes its investigation."
The NAACP said it has decided not to honor Sterling with a previously announced lifetime achievement award from its Los Angeles chapter. The NAACP said it also plans to return an undisclosed amount of donations the Clippers owner has made to the organization.