Blake Griffin wants respect for Clips

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Blake Griffin did a lot as a rookie last season. He's got a whole lot bigger agenda this year. Like, say, making the Los Angeles Clippers into a destination franchise.

"I'm not even thinking of it like that," Griffin said when asked whether he was making the Clippers his team this season. "I'm just trying to do my job and my part to make this a team that people respect."

Yeah, that's right: Respect.

"I want to put expectations on our team that are high," Griffin said after a voluntary workout at the team's training center Monday. "That's kind of the way I've always been and I want to put those expectations on our team as well. Our goal is the playoffs and we think that's very attainable."

To those ends Griffin and point guard Mo Williams organized a series of workouts during the lockout in Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Players could have no contact with the organization or the coaching staff during the lockout, so organizing games fell on team leaders. While Griffin led more by example as a rookie, it's clear his voice is now one of the loudest in the Clippers locker room.

"I've been talking to Mo (Williams), DJ (DeAndre Jordan) and Eric (Gordon), Ryan (Gomes), Randy (Foye) all those guys all summer about setting the tone the tone for our year," he said. "Making sure that everybody knows that we're not going to be a team that's OK with losing. The biggest thing I think is: 'It's OK to care. It's OK to want to win and to be that team. To be upset when we lose.'

"We can't have the mindset of becoming complacent with losing. It doesn't happen on purpose. But when you start out the way we did, it doesn't make losing easier, but when you've lost six in a row and you get a win, that next game it's like, 'Oh, we won our last one.'

"It's got to be one of those things where that can never be OK. I think that's the direction we're going. That's got to be our mindset."

Griffin said he will make himself available as a recruiter to Clippers management as soon as the lockout is officially over.

Clippers general manager Neil Olshey told ESPNLosAngeles.com last week that the team's biggest offseason priorities are retaining restricted free agent in Jordan, extending fourth-year guard in Gordon and upgrading at the small forward position.

The Clippers have contacted the representatives for all the top small forwards on the market this year: Tayshaun Prince, Caron Butler, Grant Hill, Shane Battier and Jeff Green.

The team met with Butler and his agent Monday night. Butler's meeting with the Clippers went so well, the two sides decided to talk again on Tuesday morning, according to Butler's agent Raymond Brothers. The team is also planning to meet with Prince later this week.

Retaining Jordan, one of the top free agent centers on the market, is also a priority. Olshey said last week that he's optimistic the team will either be able to come to an agreement with Jordan outright, or match an offer sheet Jordan could sign elsewhere.

The question is just how big that offer sheet is as the Clippers are trying to maintain their flexibility under what is expected to be a $58 million salary cap. The team currently is about $13 million under the cap.

"I'm confident," Griffin said when asked if he thought Jordan would return. "I think that's somewhat of a main thing for us, as Neil has said. But as a friend of DJs I think he needs to do what's best for him. I think he thinks this might be, and I think we feel the same way."

Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.