Shaunie O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife and mother of four of his five children, probably knows if the big man plans to play basketball again next year. But she’s not saying. In fact, Shaunie (inset) wouldn’t say much of anything about Shaq when she called the other day to hype the third season of VH1’s “Basketball Wives.’’ (The show premieres Monday.) O’Neal, who’s executive producer of “Basketball Wives,’’ told us she’s legally prohibited from talking about the 7-foot-1 center who spent most of the Celtics season out with an injured achilles, shin, calf, and knee. (We’re probably forgetting a few of his other aches and pains.) As for season three, it sounds like more of the same, with Shaunie, Evelyn, Jennifer, Suzie, Royce, Tami, and newcomer Meeka — her husband is retired NBA point guard Speedy Claxton — dealing with a lot of drama and betrayal. Asked if the women ever complain about the way they’re portrayed on the show, Shaunie said yes. But, as the producer, her goal is good TV. “These are my friends and I try to have their best interest in mind,’’ she said. “But I can’t always protect everybody like I would want to. It’s real.’’
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