Tongue-Out, reading is fundamental...I know you've seen the commercials.
I think Kobe has slowed a bit, but I think you can count on him averaging 1,900 per season over the next 4 seasons. It's around 23 PPG, assuming he plays all 82 games each season. I say 3rd, barring major injury.
I could see Kobe getting maybe 7,000 points over the next 4 seasons thus putting him ahead of MJ put still over 4,000 behind the Mailman and over 5,500 behind Kareem. No-one knows what sort of game Kobe will have in 4 years time but his game has shown no backward step since he turned 30 and he still wins more games with the final shot than anyone in the NBA.
If you deduct Kobe's first two NBA seasons then his career PPG is around 27.4 so that perhaps gives a better indication of his level of scoring. Also don't forget he rode shotgun to Shaq for 8 years at the Lakers so that maybe cost him some serious points. Kobe can probably get up to 6th on the all time list next season alone.
MJ but for his retirements in 1993 and 1998 could well have challenged and passed Kareem's record. His Chicago PPG record was 32ppg I recall.
LeBron may have been on target to get into the mix eventually but his Miami move may cost him a couple of PPG and Shaq will probably fall short of 30,000 career points.