A loss to the Pistons on Monday dropped the Cavs to 2-13, the worst record in the league.
"I don't think the goal is to win. The goal isn't to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can," Smith told The Athletic on Monday. "I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan."
Smith, 33, has publicly said that he wants a trade. After going to the Finals last season and then losing James, the Cavs signed Kevin Love to an extension and said they had enough to win. But Love has been hurt, and coach Tyronn Lue was fired. Veterans have seen their minutes given to young players.
Smith is playing 20 minutes and averaging a career-low 6.7 points per game. He reiterated Monday that he isn't interested in being a part of what the Cavaliers are doing.
"Not if the goal isn't to compete, to win," he said, according to The Athletic.
Smith is in his 15th season and making $14.7 million but has been reluctant to accept a buyout.
"I don't want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland," Smith said, according to the website. "I don't think that's fair to the people I see every single day walking around the arena. I don't think that's fair to the trainers or equipment guys. ... I just look at it differently than being traded. I don't like the statement of getting bought out."
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 7.
James returns to Cleveland for the first time as a Lakers player on Wednesday.