Southwest Notes: Bogut, Simmons, Hield, Nowitzki

New Mavericks center Andrew Bogut was back on the court today for the first time since hurting his left knee in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, reports ESPN.com. Bogut played nine minutes for the Australian National Team in an Oympic tune-up against China. He wore a brace on his knee as he registered three rebounds and an assist. “I think his first game back from an injury is always difficult,” said Australian assistant coach Luc Longley. “We’re fairly happy with how he moved, how he looked on the court and will build from that.”

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • Jonathon Simmons‘ contract with the Spurs is now fully guaranteed for next season, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The second-year shooting guard will make $847,636 after the guarantee deadline passed Saturday.
  • The Pelicans expect first-round pick Buddy Hield to have ups and downs during his rookie season, writes Ian Thomsen of NBA.com. Hield struggled with his shot in his first summer league experience, connecting on just 33% from the field and 23% from 3-point range. New Orleans is counting on Hield to replace Eric Gordon, who signed with the Rockets in free agency. “With him it’s never going to be about effort,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. “It’s just going to be about the experience of learning, and if that’s all you’ve got to worry about then I think he’s going to be a very good player. It’s going to be a roller coaster season for him. He’s going to have some 30-point games, he’s also going to have some 3-for-15 games. That’s all a part of learning as a rookie. But you tell me a rookie that’s come in this league that hasn’t done that.”
  • After years of being paid below his market value, the MavericksDirk Nowitzki deserves the two-year, $50MM deal he signed this summer, contends Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. Nowitzki said he took less in previous years to help Dallas assemble the best possible team and noted that the Mavericks were able to trade for Tyson Chandler and sign Chandler Parsons because of it.

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