In 1982, the Saints won the second division title with the help of American import Kenny McFadden, promoting them to the first division. From there on, the Saints built a dynasty in the 1980s, collecting four championships (1984, 1985, 1987 & 1988) and were runners up in 1983 and 1986. McFadden was named most outstanding guard in 1983 and 1984 as he led the league in scoring in those years. McFadden's performance during the 1980s was acknowledged in 2012 by his No. 5 jersey becoming the first in the NBL to be retired.
The early 1990s held dwindling fortunes for the Saints. Following the conclusion of the 1996 season, both the Capital Power Saints and the Hutt Valley Lakers were struggling to survive. They amalgamated for the 1997 season and attracted naming sponsorship of the restructured regional energy company TransAlta, as TransAlta Wellington, but basketball fans wanted a 'real' name and so, for the 1998 season, they became the TransAlta Wizards. Even this wasn't strong enough for the fans and so, for the 1999 season, they returned to the original identity of the Wellington Saints.
In February 2014, after many years of angling for a Wellington presence in the Australian National Basketball League, Saints' CEO Nick Mills appeared set to get his wish, with ANBL boss Fraser Neill viewing a capital-based club as a prime candidate for a proposed four-team expansion in the 2015–16 season. With the ANBL hoping to expand from eight to 16 teams within five years, Wellington, Brisbane, Tasmania, Canberra and a second Melbourne side were all in the mix for 2015–16. Initial talks between Mills and Neill were positive but they struck a speed bump during a meeting in May 2014 after Mills' bid differed from the ANBL's preference.