The Whites chief has not ruled out the possibility that 30-year old Smith may return to Elland Road but insists that it does depend on a few things.
"First of all it depends on whether the manager (Simon Grayson) wants him or not, which is his decision and not mine," Bates told Yorkshire Radio.
"Alan Smith returning to Elland Road would be a very popular move, but we have to be careful because unfortunately over the last few seasons Alan's had a pretty poor injury record and one thing we can't afford to do is sign somebody who is not fit to play.
"The other thing of course is Alan Smith's wages. He's been at Manchester United and Newcastle, so his wages are probably in the stratosphere, well over the seven-figure region, so I suspect if he did join us he would have to knock a nought off it and probably half it, which may not suit him or his agent.
"But on the other hand nothing is certain and nothing is uncertain.
"I can confirm we're certainly continuing our quest for the right players and if he was fit of course Alan would be a great addition to the squad, but that would need further consideration and investigation by Simon."