The Great NBA Boycott of 2014 will go down in sports mythology alongside UNLV's boycott of th '91 national championship game and the 1964 All-Star Game as one of the grandest near-boycotts of the past half-century. We'll never know whether or not NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life because of his own outrage or if the players pressured him into taking a step more severe than anyone else imagined he'd take. However, according to multiple sources the Warriors were fully-prepared to go through warmups, introductions and then walk off the floor after the tip-off in protest at the tip-off if Sterling weren't punished to the fullest extent of the NBA's bylaws.
“It would have been our only chance to make a statement in front of the biggest audience that we weren’t going to accept anything but the maximum punishment,” Curry said. “We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play.”
Things probably wouldn't even have gotten that far though if Silver had taken a different path. Clippers point guard Chris Paul is the NBPA President and after Sterling's ban was announced, NBPA union vice president Roger Mason said that the remaining playoff teams were also prepared for a league-wide boycott that which would have included the Clippers.
Via Fox Sports:
"We didn't want to jump to conclusions, but we were prepared that if this decision came down, we were prepared to move forward that way," Mason said. "We didn't think that this was just a Clippers issue, so we didn't want to put the pressure on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and that team. We wanted to band behind our brothers to do the right thing."
That was a level of turmoil no owner or Commish was willing to risk. Silver represents the owners collectively, but ultimately, the voices of 220 plus NBA players sounded louder. The league wanted to dead this issue and the players threats were the impetus.