ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images Donald Sterling doesn't plan on going away quietly from the NBA, according to a league executive who is close to the disgraced Clippers owner.
LOS ANGELES — Donald Sterling won’t go down without a fight, according to an NBA executive who is close to the disgraced owner of the Clippers, and will sue the NBA if the other 29 owners vote to force him to sell.

The wheels are in motion to remove Sterling, a process that the executive said Wednesday night would lead to a lawsuit by the disgraced owner, possibly tying up the future of the team for years.

“He is not going to sell the team,” the exeuctive said.

Members of the owners’ advistory and finance committee, which includes Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison, planned to hold a meeting Thursday to discuss the next steps in forcing Sterling to sell the team he has owned for 33 years. Seventy-five percent of the league’s 29 other teams would have to vote in favor of such a move.

Heat forward LeBron James said Wednesday the owners need to act swiftly on dealing with Sterling, saying: "Obviously, it's not going to be night and day — you wake up tomorrow and the team is in someone else's hands," James told reporters after practice in Miami. "But we need to get the next step going."

On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver insisted that the revelation of Sterling's bigoted words on an audio tape recorded by his girlfriend was "a painful moment for all members of the NBA family," and less than 24 hours steps were being taken to remove Sterling from the NBA permanently.

As the Daily News reported Wednesday, if Sterling sues, he would likely base his case on language in the NBA constitution that deals with conduct that constitutes “willful acts,” a term that can be difficult to interpret and enforce. Generally those acts include criminal behavior, financial instability or gambling or fixing games.

Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images An overwhelming amount of Clippers fans want Donald Sterling removed as team owner.

“He’ll sue and it’ll take years to settle,” said the source close to Sterling.

Reverberations from Sterling's racist words continued Wednesday.

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive offered the strongest support of Silver from an ownership position.

"I would be surprised if this was not a unanimous vote," Ranadive said during an ESPN Radio interview. "The owners are amazing people -- they're color-blind -- and I fully expect a unanimous vote."

Players across the league had planned potential boycotts of playoff games had Silver not issued such a definitive punishment as the one leveled against Sterling. Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson maintained that it was a realistic option before his team played the Clippers in Game 5.

"Luckily it didn't come to that," said Chris Paul, the Clippers point guard and the National Basketball Players Association president.

SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS NBA commissioner Adam Silver bans Donald Sterling for life over his racist comments.

Paul, James and others recognize the power that they have in their corner regarding public perception in light of Sterling's "hateful feelings," as Silver referred to the recordings that were leaked to TMZ.com on Friday.

"With this particular case we're fighting for, I don't think it can do anything to hurt our game," James said. "We're fighting to get an owner out of our league who shouldn't be a part of our league. No matter how long it takes, no matter how much money it costs, we need to get him out of there -- and whoever is associated with him doesn't belong in our league."

James's feelings toward Sterling carry a personal antagonism, according to an ESPN report. David Geffen, a music and film mogul with a net worth that Forbes estimates at $6.2 billion, said James was interested in playing in Los Angeles when he was a free agent in 2010. James reportedly told Geffen that he chose the Heat, in part, because he would never play for Sterling.

"[THE] reasons are perfectly clear," said Geffen, who added that he was interested in buying the Clippers with a group that includes Oprah Winfrey.

Sterling's absence from the Staples Center during Game 5 was one step toward creating a workplace where players like James may someday want to play again. Fans held banners and signs in the air as they cheered the Clippers. One sign looked toward the future. It read, "Clippers new owner wanted! Racists need not apply!"