Chances are that New York Knicks fans are anxiously awaiting the start of the latest round of NBA free agency that begins on Tuesday.

More specifically, they're waiting to see whether or not the Knicks' biggest star, Carmelo Anthony, will remain a Knick or seek to quench his thirst for an NBA championship elsewhere. And right now, that decision, more than any other to be made on the free agent market this summer, could go either way.

One year removed from winning their first Atlantic Division title in nearly 20 years and going deep into the playoffs, the Knicks, plagued by injuries and inconsistency, floundered to a 37-45 record, missing the eight seed in the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. The Knicks have nothing to immediately offer Melo, last year's league scoring champion, except more money than any other team and the promise of getting more stars to put around him after next season, when several hefty contracts come off the books for New York. Meanwhile, some of the teams looking to court Anthony are built to win now, including the three-time former world champion Miami Heat, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, the tough and talented Chicago Bulls, the veteran Dallas Mavericks, the up-and-coming Phoenix Suns and more. With the Knicks competing against those stacked rosters, it's not hard to see Anthony deciding that he's had enough of the Big Apple.

For Knicks president Phil Jackson and New York, that would leave them with more salary cap space, but knocked right back to square one: in need of a franchise player to help lead the charge to the elusive NBA title that has evaded the team since 1973. While chances are that they may be better equipped to find such a player next summer (hello, Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo), there might be a few key players that can fill that hole in New York on this summer's free agent market:

Luol Deng

A solid scorer and a virtual demon on defense, don't expect Deng, who was shipped from Chicago to Cleveland in midseason, to stick around with the lowly Cavaliers despite having Kyrie Irving and No.1 NBA Draft pick Andrew Wiggins. Deng wants to play for a contender, and while the Knicks are still a ways away from being there, Jackson has made it clear that he's looking to build a winner. Could the coach of 11 NBA championship teams hold enough sway to lure Deng to the Big Apple?

Dwyane Wade

Wade is a legend in Miami, and a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer at this point in his career. But concerns over his often-creaky knees and the longevity of his career might make the Heat wary of giving Wade the kind of deal that a star of his caliber deserves. Enter the Knicks. They've got plenty of money and would have a lot of opportunity for Wade to score at will. While they may not be title contenders next season, having a superstar with the playoff pedigree of Wade in the mix would get New York a long way towards getting there.

Pau Gasol

The two-time world champion and four-time All-Star will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and while Gasol may not have youth on his side at age 33, he's still got plenty of gas left in the tank. Having tallied 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds last season for the Lakers, Gasol also was a key guy for Jackson during their last NBA title run in L.A. Having that inside track could help the Knicks land a very big fish in the free agent pool who can make an immediate impact in filling the hole at center Tyson Chandler left when he was traded back to Dallas.

Lance Stephenson

He's controversial, but he's effective and blossoming as a talent and scorer. As strange as his ear-blowing at LeBron James was in the Eastern Conference Finals was, Stephenson may be just strange enough to work in New York. Make no mistake, Stephenson is a star on the rise, so getting him on the Knicks roster would be quite the coup not just in the immediate future, but for years to come.

Chris Bosh

He's a nine-time NBA All-Star and for years he's been considered among the best power forwards/centers in basketball. But despite those accolades, with the Miami Heat, Bosh would have to take a paycut in order to stay on. With the Knicks, he'd be getting the maximum deal. And really, who wouldn't offer it to him? Bosh is a force on offense and has evolved his game on defense, and with two rings to go with all that talent, he would instantly be the leader in the New York Knicks locker room sans Anthony (in some ways, even with Anthony). More importantly, he's the kind of player that you could build a winner around.