Former Hawk Cameron Tragardh has pleaded with Wollongong to believe him: he didn't sign with Melbourne for the money.The Tigers announced yesterday Tragardh - nicknamed Trigger - had agreed to a three-year deal, believed to be worth in excess of $100,000 per season.Tragardh, who was weighing up offers from several clubs - including the Hawks and the reborn Sydney Kings - declared the length of the contract, not its size, was the decisive factor. Full coverage of the Wollongong Hawks "Mat Campbell said this was the worst part of being a professional basketballer, you're going to leave some teams heartbroken and they're going to think you're a dog," Tragardh said."There were a few offers on the table, people will think it's about money, but Melbourne's wasn't the biggest offer financially."Sydney came calling and they came with more money than Melbourne."The 209cm forward was a pillar of Wollongong's storybook charge to the NBL finals, which prompted Melbourne to swoop with a long-term offer."Melbourne have invested three years in me, the other offers were one or two-year deals and that was a big part of it," he said.The 26-year-old is Melbourne's first major signing of the free agency period after a disappointing season, the retirements of former NBL MVPs Sam Mackinnon and Chris Anstey and the departure of import Julius Hodge.Tragardh said he sought the advice of Hawks mainstays Campbell and Glen Saville before putting pen to paper."Mat and Sav (Saville) were fantastic, a lot of people were putting in their two cents but they were really neutral," Tragardh said."Mat said 'I love playing with you, I want to see you be a Hawk' but he also said I had to do what was best for me."I rang a few people, friends, family, guys like Mat and Sav to see what they thought - this was all foreign to me, I had no idea how to play it."The All-NBL Third Team selection phoned Hawks coach Gordie McLeod before the news broke."I loved my time in this place, we had some tough times with the financial troubles and a couple of years we just didn't have the talent to compete," he said."It's been a good time, a happy time. I've made some great friendships here."The Hawks put their best offer forward and I appreciate that."Hawks CEO Wayne Morris shot down suggestions Tragardh's departure would spark a mass exodus from the blue collar outfit, which is expected to have a player budget well short of the $1 million salary cap. "It's always disappointing to lose a player, but I don't think it will create an avalanche - individual players have individual requirements," he said.