He is deemed to be an above-average citizen, a harder-than-most worker and an all-around good guy.

He's also not much for guarding quicker players, he'll be 32 years old when next season begins, he has four guaranteed years remaining on his contract and he'll add roughly $25 million in long-term salary to payroll.

Such is the price for filling a void.

The Jazz, it's believed, have agreed to trade for Golden State guard and longtime Los Angeles Laker Derek Fisher — a deal they see as the best route for acquiring some semblance of a sharpshooter, and one that means they're no longer shopping for a big name in the NBA's summer free-agency market.

In exchange, Utah — barring an unforeseen snag — will send guards Keith McLeod, Devin Brown and Andre Owens to Golden State.

Fisher confirmed the trade, telling the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times the deal was "pretty much done."

The father of newborn twins sounded less than thrilled, however.

According to the Times, "Fisher said he wants to stay a Warrior, and that he and his family were just starting to feel at home in the (San Francisco) Bay Area. But he noted he is prepared to go to Utah if the deal goes through."

"I will try to do my job and do the best I can," he told the California newspaper, "whether I'm still with the Warriors or somewhere else."

Fisher, a University of Arkansas-Little Rock product, played his first eight NBA seasons in L.A. and the past two for Golden State.

At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he's described as a shooting guard in a point guard's body — with a point's mentality.

In Utah, that means Fisher — said to be hungry for minutes — can back up starter Deron Williams at the point and/or play off-guard, though it's an awfully small, defense-challenged backcourt if he and Williams play together.

Neither the Jazz nor the Warriors commented, as the trade cannot be made official until next Wednesday at the earliest.

That's because Owens is a restricted free agent, and the Jazz need his contract to make the swap conform to NBA salary-matching rules. League free-agency rules also prevent Owens — who probably wouldn't have been re-signed, but now will make at least $664,209 — from completing paperwork before Wednesday.

Fisher's salary next season is $5.88 million, but he has $26.46 million guaranteed on his contract — including $7.35 million for the 2009-2010 season, when he'll be 35.

Utah picked up the $1.4 million option for next season on McLeod's contract last Friday, but when the Jazz did that they also said they might still pursue veteran help at the point.

McLeod spent two seasons in Utah, playing 129 games (59 starts) in the backcourt.

Brown, who'll make about $2.7 million next season, played just one season with the Jazz after signing last summer as a free agent from then NBA-champion San Antonio. He averaged 7.5 points per game mostly off the bench, but never seemed to figure out how to play for coach Jerry Sloan.

Owens, signed last year as an undrafted free agent from the University of Houston, played sparingly in Utah. He appeared in 23 games and missed the season's final 36 with a stress-fractured tibia that required rod-insertion surgery.

It's not known which, if any, of the Jazz players Golden State will keep.

The Warriors made the deal primarily to free playing time behind star Baron Davis for young guard Monta Ellis and to add wiggle room beneath the NBA's payroll luxury-tax threshold for next season and beyond.

All three Jazz players come off the books after the coming season.

Fisher, however, becomes a big part of Utah's 2006-07 plans.

The Arkansas native signed with the Warriors as a free agent in 2004 and was expected to be mostly an insurance policy last season. He paid off. While Davis battled injury problems, Fisher filled in extensively at the point and averaged 31.6 minutes per game without missing so much as a single game.

With the Golden State workload as heavy as it was, Fisher also committed 156 turnovers in 2005-06 — averaging a career-worst 1.9 per game. But he averaged a career-high 13.3 points, and made 117-of-295 3-point attempts — a respectable 39.7 percent clip.

No Jazz player put up more trey tries than Mehmet Okur's 234 last season — and only one, Williams, had a better behind-the-arc shooting percentage (41.6) than Fisher.

Among all NBA players attempting 100-plus 3s last season, 26 — including Williams — had a better shooting percentage than Fisher's 39.7.

Beyond his 700 regular-season games, the career 37.3 percent 3-point shooter also has plenty of playoff experience — 117 games' worth and three NBA title rings, all with the Lakers. No current Jazz player has appeared in more postseason games than Okur's 39.

Fisher also was part of the winning long-distance shooting team during the 2004 NBA All-Star Weekend.

Perhaps his biggest fame claim, though, is a last-second catch-and-shoot for the game-winner in the Lakers' Game 5 victory over San Antonio in the 2004 Western Conference finals.

NOTES: Fisher's acquisition means the Jazz no longer plan to use their full mid-level exception salary slot on an individual free agent, but they'll continue efforts to re-sign big man Jarron Collins . . . A scouring of available rosters shows several players with Utah ties taking part in the Vegas Summer League, which begins today: Jazz 2004 first-round draft pick Kris Humphries of Toronto, fellow Jazz 2004 first-rounder Kirk Snyder of New Orleans/Oklahoma City, Utah Valley State College product Ronnie Price of Sacramento, BYU product Terrell Lyday (who's been playing in Europe) with the Los Angeles Clippers and Southern Utah product Fred House (who's played in the NBDL and Europe) with Portland . . . The Jazz have learned they're permitted by NBA rules to bring center Robert Whaley, recently traded by Utah to Toronto and subsequently waived, to their Rocky Mountain Revue summer camp. It's uncertain, however, if Whaley will be added to the roster.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com