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The league and the Clippers are investigating, though ultimately the decision will be perceived as Silver‘s.

“He’s got to come down hard,” Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson, who was referenced on the audio recording, said Sunday on ABC.

The NBA Constitution is not public, though it’s understood the commissioner’s powers are broad when it comes to dealing with matters deemed “prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball.” A fine, a suspension, a demand for sensitivity training, all that and more is surely at Silver’s disposal.

It seems probable some sort of resolution comes before Game 5 of the series in Los Angeles.

“We’re going home now,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after Sunday’s 118-97 loss. “Usually that would mean we’re going to our safe haven. And I don’t even know if that’s true, to be honest.”

Sterling agreed to not attend Sunday’s game, though his wife - who has filed suit against the woman alleged to be on the tape - was present. There could be more audio coming; a person in the office of attorney Mac E. Nehoray, who represents the woman allegedly on the tape, said the full recording lasts about an hour. The attorney’s office also insists that the recording is legitimate and that Sterling is the man on the tape.

Also on Sunday, the NAACP announced on Twitter that “#DonaldSterling will not be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the LA Branch of the NAACP.” Sterling had been slated to receive the honor on May 15 as part of the 100th anniversary celebration of the group’s Los Angeles branch.

Some players feel for the magnitude of the task Silver is facing.

“What, he’s been three months on the job? And he has to deal with an issue like this,” Washington’s Garrett Temple said of Silver. “It’s unfair to him. … It’s going to be a difficult situation for him to take care of, and he’s probably going to act swiftly as he said. And he needs to do so. It’s a very tough issue. A lot of different sides. But it’s more than basketball.”

The situation has elicited some incredibly sharp comments from players, with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant making no effort to hide their disgust.

“I couldn’t play for him,” Bryant wrote on Twitter.

Added former Clippers guard Baron Davis, also in a tweet: “Been going on for a long time.”

Sterling has been the subject of many past controversies but this, particularly at playoff time and with his own team a potential title contender, has perhaps generated more outcry than the others combined. Even President Barack Obama addressed the issue Sunday at a news conference in Malaysia.

The next move will be made by Silver.

“The commissioner,” Indiana’s Paul George said, “is going to make the right call.”

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