The bizarre practices of owner Tim Johnston and Firepower boss, the company that made millions without anything to actually sell, meant that the Sydney Kings were forced out of the NBL after losing the grand final series of 2007/08 to the Melbourne Tigers.
After two years out of the league, the Kings returned to the NBL for the 2010/11 campaign and while the first couple of years were far from fruitful on the court, crowds in Sydney were generally good and the league without doubt benefited from having a presence in the country's biggest city.
However, things weren’t improving on the court by the end of the 2011/12 season and as a result Ian 'Moose' Robilliard was stood down as head coach with former Kings championship-winner, Boomers and NBA sharp-shooting point guard Heal eventually taking over the reins.
That immediately gave Sydney that edge to go from just happy being in the league and being competitive to wanting to be a genuine finals and championship threat, and the result was the first playoff appearance last season since re-entering the league.
The Kings might not have beaten the Breakers in the semi finals last season as New Zealand rolled to a third successive NBL championship, but Heal's men overcame the loss of import point guard Corin Henry and pushed the champs particularly in Game 2 in Sydney.
Sydney's roster has undergone quite a turnover coming into the 2013/14 campaign, though, and even though MVP-candidate Ben Madgen is still working his way back to full fitness it is a group Heal expects nothing but the best from.
Import guards Charles Carmouche and Jesse Sanders have shown some encouraging signs in the opening two weeks, a win over Melbourne and loss in Perth, and then there has been big man AJ Ogilvy starring averaging 16 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 blocks over those first two weekends.
Former Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns swingman Brad Hill has settled in nicely as well with the Kings so far leading the league in rebounds while veteran sharpshooter James Harvey has shown he has plenty left in the tank.
While all that sounds good and the Kings were impressive in Perth last Friday night to be in a position to strongly push for a win over the Wildcats with scores tied at 62-apiece heading down the home stretch, things quickly turned sour.
The Wildcats went on a run of 15 straight points from there to eventually win 81-69 and while Sydney did well to stick with the undefeated Perth for three quarters, what happened in the last five minutes left Heal far from satisfied.
"It was a really disappointing end for us. We did enough to be able to stay in there and it was 62-each with five minutes to go so we gave ourselves a chance," Heal said.
"If you can do that any time you are playing against a quality team then it's a good effort, but from there we just got taught a lesson in the last five minutes and got outscored by 12. We broke down in all the key indicators we pride ourselves on so now we have to go away and lick our wounds, and get better."
Even though Sydney is coming off a finals appearance and has done enough to suggest this season that it will be a chance of being up there once again, Heal simply does not want to just be in charge of a team capable of being competitive.
Having captained Sydney's first ever NBL championship, playing at four Olympic Games with the Boomers and having two stints in the NBA on top of his glittering Australian career, Heal is not about to accept anything but the best from his Kings team.
That's what made it so frustrating to see the capitulation late in the game against Perth. While he could have taken the glass half full approach of taking positives from being good for three and-a-half quarters, what happened in the last five minutes is not something he will tolerate.
"At the end of the day, we got taught a lesson. We didn’t come here to get close to Perth, we came here to beat Perth. We didn’t do a whole pre-season and bring new people in to only get close. We came here to beat the very best and that's our standard, and we didn’t get that done," he said.
"When you play well for three and-a-half quarters, it's only a mental thing or toughness thing that stops you doing it for the full 40 minutes.
"We will sit through that last five minutes as a team, and go though every decision and every breakdown, because to me I just couldn’t walk away more disappointed. I don't walk away thinking it was great to be close for three and-a-half quarters at all."
The Kings have plenty of improvement left in their team as well with Madgen still working his way back to being able to play big minutes after a nasty ankle injury suffered while in camp with the Boomers while Cody Ellis won't be joining the team until he finishes college in mid-December.
"We are still trying to find ways to play without Ben Madgen and he is still six to eight weeks away from being able to do what he does best so we need other people to be able to step up. He is crucial in crunch time and what he provided for us last year is what we need, and we missed it this week," he said.
"It's an investment for us. Every training session he is on the floor in and every minute he plays in games is an investment in him getting back. He originally wasn’t meant to be back until December but physically he's OK, he just hasn’t had the game time and now he has missed three or four months of the pre-season work the other players have done.
"It's very difficult to make that up, but he's a hard worker and a great guy so we know he will get there but we need to be able to accumulate wins in the meantime. We also don’t get Cody Ellis until December 12 so we have to have other guys continue to step up until we get our full roster."
The performances of Ogilvy and Hill have been particularly impressive over the first two games with the 25-year-old Ogilvy coming straight out of college to already stamp himself as a dominant centre in the league while Hill has benefitted from Heal playing him in the power forward spot.
"We've got huge confidence in Brad and I have a history with Brad, and I think the positional change for him has been excellent. He played a great second half this week and he's a very difficult match-up for opposing four men. We have a lot of confidence in what he brings to the table," Heal said.
"AJ is a focus for us in every game. We feel like he is one of the best, if not the best, big man in the competition.
"He is still feeling his way and he needs to be able to get it done against good opposition as well. In the last five minutes of games we need our best players to step up and we don’t think anyone did that this week."
The Kings now get an immediate opportunity to hit back from last Friday's loss to Perth when they host the Wildcats at the Sydney Entertainment Centre this Sunday.