After victory over St Mirren, he insisted: "You are free to speculate."
Smith added: "We are actively looking for players who we think would improve the team and I've said that right from the very start of the transfer window.
"If we can find a player who we think can improve the team then we will endeavour to try to get them.
"So far, that has been a tough task. Clubs don't want to let good players go at this stage of the season. That's where we are at the moment in a situation where you are free to speculate."
Bent is currently on loan at Wigan from Charlton, and has had further experience in the English Premier League from previous spells at clubs including Everton and Blackburn.
Asked whether Bent was a player who would strengthen his current squad, Smith deftly side-stepped the question.
FIFA rules forbid a player from playing for three clubs in one season and 29-year-old Bent would fall into that category having featured for both Charlton and Wigan this term.
"I think you will find, if you look back on Mr Bent's season, he may have played for two clubs already this season," pointed out Smith.