The San Antonio Spurs have taken themselves out of the chase for LeBron James in 2018 after signing power forward Lamarcus Aldridge to a three-year extension worth $72.3 million. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, with Aldridge’s signing, the Spurs will not have enough salary cap room to afford James’ $35.6 million salary for 2018. For next season, the Spurs will pay Aldridge $22.3 million, Kawhi Leonard $20.1 million, Pau Gasol $16.8 million and $11.6 million to Patty Mills, leaving them with just $18 million in cap space next July.

The $18 million is not enough cap space to entice James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join San Antonio.

The Spurs can hope that Rudy Gay and Danny Green will both opt out of the final year of their respective contracts worth $8.8 million and $10 million, respectively, and find a new team for Gasol in order to afford James’ asking price.

James could win 4th NBA title with Spurs

It was earlier rumored that James could leave the Cavaliers in 2018 and join the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1 said if James wants to win a fourth NBA title, he should make a huge financial sacrifice and join the Spurs. Broussard said James should prioritize winning to cement his legacy further and not focus on business opportunities that he could venture into if he joins the Lakers.

Also, Broussard said James will have an opportunity to play with a legendary coach like Gregg Popovich of the Spurs.

In his stint with the Heat, he was coached by Eric Spoelstra, while Tyronn Lue is his current mentor in Cleveland. Broussard emphasized that Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan had a chance to learn under a great coach like Phil Jackson. In addition, James will have a chance to play alongside Kawhi Leonard, whom Jordan called as the best two-way player in the league.

Cavaliers out to keep James

The Cavaliers, for their part, are hoping that James will stay after they acquired Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder for Kyrie Irving and signed his close friend Dwyane Wade. Aside from the Cavaliers and the Lakers, other teams can pursue James if they have enough salary cap space to accommodate his salary.

The Lakers, under new president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, are trying to save cap space in case James joins them in 2018. Earlier, Pelinka insisted that they can accommodate two superstars with their salary cap next season.

Aside from James, the Lakers are also interested in acquiring Paul George. Earlier, the Lakers expressed interest in trading for George but the Indiana Pacers shipped him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.